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First Edition 



October, 1903 
December^ 1903 
February \ 1904 






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THE author of the following narrative is a leader in 
the Russian revolutionary movement. The German 
transliteration of his name is given here as being the form 
he himself uses in Western Europe ; but he is called 
" Deuc" in the English version of Stepniak's Underground 
Russia, which was translated from the Italian, retaining 
the Italian transliteration of names. A more exact 
rendering of the Russian would be Deitch, the "ei" pro- 
nounced somewhat as in the English word " rein." 

George Kennan's valuable work, Siberia and the Exile 
System, the fruit of investigations carried on under circum- 
stances of much difficulty and even danger, has made its 
many English and American readers acquainted with the 
true conditions of life among Russian political prisoners 
and exiles. The story given in the present volume of the 
painful and tragic events that took place in the political 
prisons at Kara after Mr. Kennan had left the Russian 
Empire was written to him by, among others, a friend 
resident in Kara at the time, whose letter he published in 
his book. In it are also to be found additional particulars 
concerning the earlier or later history of many persons 
whose names occur in the following pages ; and it thus 
throws an interesting light on Mr. Deutsch's story, which 
is told so quietly, with such an absence of sensationalism, 
that it is sometimes necessary to read between the lines in 
order to grasp fully the terrible realities of the situation. 

* /* 


It may, perhaps, be useful to readers unfamiliar with the 
history of the Russian revolutionary movement if I give 
here a rough sketch of its development, and of its position 
at the present time. 

From the first consolidation of the Empire under the 
Tsars in the latter half of the sixteenth century, Russian 
despotism has consistently regarded with apprehension 
and disfavour all manifestation of independent thought 
among its subjects. There has never been a time when 
those bold enough to indulge in it, even in what English 
people would consider a very mild form, were not liable to 
persecution, and this traditional attitude of repression and 
coercion had the inevitable result. Even early in the 
eighteenth century secret societies had come into being, 
but these were mostly of the various religious sects or of 
the Freemasons. When they began to assume a political 
character they were at first confined entirely to the upper 
classes, and took the form of revolts organised among the 
military, the last and most important being that of the 
Decabrists (or Decembrists), who attempted to overthrow 
the monarchy on the occasion of Nicholas I.'s accession in 

Liberal views were to a certain extent fostered by 
Alexander I. (1 801-1825), who at one time openly talked 
of granting a Constitution. Russians who visited Western 
Europe, officers in the Napoleonic campaigns, and others, 
had " brought France into Russia," had made the French 
language fashionable, and thus had opened a way for the 
importation of new philosophical, scientific, and political 
literature, eagerly appreciated by the developing acuteness 
of the Russian mind. Literary influence, even the purely 
romantic, has throughout ranged itself on the side of 
liberty, Pushkin heading the poets and Gogol the novelists. 
Indeed, one may safely say that up to the present day 


nearly every Russian author of any note has been im- 
plicated — some to a greater, some to a less degree — in 
the revolutionary movement, and has suffered for the 

Alexander I. in his later years, and his successor 
Nicholas I., fell back on a reactionary policy. Even 
Freemasonry was prohibited, mere literary societies of the 
early forties were considered seditious, and their members 
were punished with imprisonment and death. There now 
sprang up political secret societies, whose dream was of a 
federal republic, or at least of a constitutional monarchy. 

The accession of Alexander II. in 1855 strengthened 
the hopes of the reformers. The study of political and 
social questions became the fashion ; while professors, 
students, and the "intellectuals" of the upper and middle 
classes warmly engaged in the " underground " movement. 
With this period are associated such names as those of 
Herzen, Bakounin, and Tchernishevsky, whose writings 
were the inspiration of the party, and even influenced for 
a time the Tsar himself. But the emancipation of the 
serfs, on February 19th, 1861, bitterly disappointed those 
who had hoped great things of the new monarch, and who 
saw from the way in which this and other liberal measures 
were emasculated by officials, to whom the drafting of 
them was entrusted by the Tsar, how futile it was to 
expect any effective reform as a grace from an autocrat. 
The reform movement, now definitely socialistic, speedily 
took on a revolutionary character, and culminated in the 
active sympathy and support given to the Polish revolt 
of 1863. 

Alexander II. resorted to the old coercive methods ; all 
attempts to voice the aspirations and needs of the people, 
or even the academic discussion of political questions, 
were met with the savage punishments of martial law, 


imprisonment, exile, death. In face of a new enactment, 
which had professed to give fair trial to all accused 
persons, special courts were set up to try political 
offenders ; and the practice of banishment by " adminis- 
trative methods" {i.e. without any trial at all) was insti- 

A time of enforced quiet followed, when the leaders of 
the movement were either dead, imprisoned, or had fled 
into voluntary exile abroad ; but it served as a time of 
self-education and study for the younger generation, at 
home or in foreign Universities, and in the early seventies 
the revival came. Our author here takes up the story 
with his account of the Propagandist movement, which 
was peaceful, except in so far as it aimed at stirring up 
the peasants to demand reform ; for, in the absence of 
any constitutional methods for expressing their desires, 
this could only be effected by organised uprisings. He 
describes how this movement developed into terrorism 
under the system of " white terror " exercised by the 
Government, and how, after the assassination of Alex- 
ander II., the strong hand of despotism succeeded in 
checking, until a few years ago, the passionate struggle 
for liberty. 

A new monarch and a new century have altered little 
the essential features of the situation, so far as relations 
between government and governed are concerned. Every 
day we have examples of the time-honoured policy, in 
the dragooning of Russia proper ; the attempted Russirl- 
cation of Finland ; and the deliberate fostering by the 
Government of anti-Semitism, with the covert design 
of counteracting the revolutionary activity of Jewish 
Socialists, discrediting their labour movement in the eyes 
of the Russian proletariat, and also distracting the latter 
from organisation on their own account. 


But a significant change is at work to-day among the 
people. The peasants and working-classes in town and 
country, formerly the despair of those who strove to 
arouse in them political consciousness, are being awakened 
by the inevitable development of industry to a sense of 
their duties and their rights. A genuine labour move- 
ment has arisen, which, in face of the intolerance of the 
authorities, has naturally taken on a political character, 
and affiliated itself to the successors of the older revolu- 
tionary societies. 

The words " anarchist " and " nihilist," so commonly 
associated with the Russian revolutionists, are complete 
misnomers to-day (as, indeed, they always have been, 
except in the case of a few isolated individuals). The 
movement is now carried on chiefly by two organisations : 
the " Revolutionary Socialists," and the party to which 
our author belongs, and helped to found, the " Social 
Democratic " Labour Party ; associated with the latter 
being the powerfully organised social-democratic rt General 
Jewish Labour Union of Lithuania, Poland, and Russia," 
usually known as the " Bund." Of these the Revolu- 
tionary Socialists alone still adhere to the practice of 
terrorism in a modified form, and even they have always 
proclaimed their intention of abandoning it directly "con- 
stitutional" methods are allowed to them. The aim of 
the revolutionists is to replace the present autocratic 
government by a social republic, under which the various 
races now grouped within the empire shall each have 
scope to develop its national individuality. Groups are 
actively at work in widely distant localities, even Siberia 
furnishing her contingent, while Poland and Finland have 
various revolutionary organisations of their own. 

The Government's policy at present is to exile to Siberia 
without trial, or intern in some place distant from home, 


all persons known or even suspected to be interesting 
themselves in the movement. This is effected principally 
through the instrumentality of the gendarmerie, which 
was instituted by Nicholas I. as a sort of spy system, 
primarily intended to unearth official abuses and report 
upon them directly to the Tsar. It soon, however, became 
imbued with the prevailing spirit of the bureaucracy ; its 
members shut their eyes to the official corruption every- 
where prevalent, and they have since confined their 
attention to unearthing " political " delinquencies. The 
force has at least one representative in every town of any 
size, and it has a vaguely defined roving commission to 
watch and arrest all persons who appear to be suspicious 
characters ; these may be kept in imprisonment for an 
indefinite time, or may be exiled " by administrative 
methods." It has become an adjunct to the ordinary 
police, although quite independent of them, and is 
generally employed in all matters of secrecy. 1 Travellers 
from Western Europe who observe too closely the life 
and conditions of the country are liable to arrest in this 
way. Sir Donald Mackenzie Wallace and Mr. Kennan, 
among others, had this experience. 

The mere existence of such a force may help to explain 
the discomfort of even the ordinary peaceful Russian 
citizen under the present system of government ; and 
he is further incommoded by the presence in every house 
of a police-spy. For the dvomik or concierge, though paid 
by the inmates of the house, is appointed subject to the 
approval of the police, and is responsible to them. He 
keeps the keys, and is bound to deliver them up to the 
police whenever they may take it into their heads to 
require a domiciliary search. As an instance of the petty 
tyranny that occurs I may mention that the possession of 

1 See Russia, by D. M. Wallace. 



a hectograph (or any such appliance for multiplying 
MSS.) needs a special permission from the police. 

The police have power to break up any gathering in a 
private house where more than seven guests are assembled ; 
this is frequently done, even on such ordinary occasions as 
a wedding or funeral, if many students or such-like " un- 
trustworthy" people are of the party. When a town or 
district is under martial law — an everyday state of things 
in Russia — the above number is still further reduced ; 
indeed, it is quite common for the police to prohibit all 

Readings at entertainments for the poor got up by 
philanthropic people may only be given from books 
licensed by the police for the purpose (and mostly very 
dull) ; the catalogues of lending libraries may contain 
only such books as are definitely permitted, many being 
excluded that are not forbidden to private persons — 
though the latter, again, are by no means free to choose 
their reading, many authors being entirely prohibited 
within the empire ; and whole columns of newspapers, 
including foreign ones that have come through the post, 
are blacked out by order of the censor. Private debating 
societies' meetings or lectures, however innocent, are prac- 
tically impossible to all who are not in the best odour 
with the authorities, except under the strictest precautions 
against discovery — such as closing of shutters, disguise 
of preparations, and a warning to guests not to arrive 

It is evident what opportunity all this gives to officials 
"on the make" for demonstrating their zeal, and it accounts 
for the fact that every year hundreds of persons not ac- 
cused of any definite offence are removed from their homes. 
Nearly everyone has friends and relations so banished, and 
the result of such systematic interference with private 


liberty is that almost everyone in Russia, outside official 
circles, is more or less in league against the bureaucratic 
government. The countenance, and even financial support, 
afforded to the revolutionists, not only by sympathisers in 
free countries, but by the general public at home, is one 
great source of their strength. They are willingly assisted 
in evading arrest and in escaping from prison or from 
exile; and prohibited literature (printed abroad, or secretly 
in Russia itself) is circulated and sold throughout the 
country in immense quantities — not only leaflets by the 
thousand, but reviews, some elaborately illustrated, and 
even books of a more solid character. The Russian 
original of the present work will presumably soon be 
on the "illegal" market. 

The illustrations are reproductions of photographs taken 
from life. 

H. С 

London, July, 1903. 


Translator's Preface .... Pages v-xii 


Journey to Germany — Imprisonment in Freiburg — Episodes from the 

past of the Revolutionary movement . . . in 


The cause of my arrest — Professor Thim — My defence — Plans of escape 

— My legal adviser ..... 12-20 

Uncertainty — Prison life — The Public Prosecutor — A change of cells 21-29 


The visit of " my wife " — More plans of escape — The Public Prosecutor 
shows his hand — Preparations for a journey . . 30-41 


The journey to Russia — In the cattle-truck — The Frankfort and Berlin 

prisons — The frontier-station — Through Warsaw to Petersburg 42-48 


The Fortress of Peter and Paul — The Public Prosecutor as compatriot 
— A hard-hearted doctor — A fleeting acquaintance . . 49~57 


Changed conditions — A frustrated plan — The minister's visit — A secret 
of State — My literary neighbour . . . . 58-66 


Fresh fears — The Colonel of Gendarmerie — Inquiry into the case of 
General Mezentzev's murder — Meeting with Bogdanovitch — De- 
parture ...... 67-72 


A ray of hope — An unheard-of regime — The hunger-strike — Our club — 
A secret ally ...... 73-82 



A brave officer — My military service — The trial — Further examinations 

Pages 83-93 


The visit of the minister — I am turned into a convict — The prison at 
Kiev . . . . . 94-104 


New acquaintances — The girl - conspirators of Romny — Arrival in 
Moscow — Companions in destiny — A liberal-minded governor . 105-114 


The trial of the fourteen — Recollections of Vera Figner — Numerous 
imprisonments — Agents Provocateurs . . . 115-122 


A not incorruptible inspector — Broken fetters — Resistance to the shaving 

process — Visitors in the prison . . . 123-129 


Political condition of Russia and the revolutionary party — Our little 
society — Fete days — Prohibited visits — A lecture on manners . 130-137 


Preparations for our travels — The boat journey by the Volga and the 
Kama — Ekaterinburg — On the troika — "To Europe, to Asia" 138-147 

In Tiumen — Parting — On the Siberian rivers — A startling proposal 148-157 


By way of the convoy-stations — A clumsy officer — The vagabond — A 

man-hunt ... ... 158-168 


The forest — Unsuccessful attempts at escape — The people we met — The 
criminal world — The convoy officers . . . 169-183 


From Krasnoyarsk to Irkutsk — Misunderstandings and disputes — The 
women in Irkutsk prison . . . 184-193 


The chief of police at Irkutsk — Meeting with exiled comrades — From 
Irkutsk to Kara — Stolen fetters — A dubious kind of Decabrist — 
Another contest— Arrival at our journey's end . . 194-208 


First days at Kara — Friends old and new . . Pages 209-220 


The organisation of our common life — The "Siriuses" — Wagers . 221-232 


Some details of the prison's history — The " Tom-cat " — The " Sanhe- 

drin's room " — My first Siberian spring . . . 233-247 


Humours and pastimes of prison life — Two new commandants — The 
"Hospital" — The participators in armed resistance . . 248-265 

The women's prison ..... 266-274 


The "colonists" — Further events in the women's prison— The hunger- 
strikes — The Yakutsk massacre . . . . 275-282 


Our celebration of the centenary of the French Revolution — Sergius 

Bobohov — The end of the tragedy . . . 283-290 


Disquieting reports — Visit of the Governor -General — Release from 
prison ...... 291-299 

Nizhnaya-Kara — New life — Stolen gold . . . 300-306 


The tour of the Heir-Apparent through Siberia — Our life in the penal 
settlement — An incensed official . ... 307-315 


The death of the Tsar — New manifestoes — The census . . 316-322 


A prehistoric monument — My departure from Kara — Life in Stretyensk 
— My transference to Blagovestshensk — The massacres of July, 1900 


My flight from Siberia — The end of my journey round the world — My 
friend Axelrod again — Conclusion . . . 347-359 

Index . , , . . ... 361 


















MOLETZ . . . 










To face page 48 



























33 6 

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IN the beginning of March, 1884, I travelled from 
Zurich, through Basel, to Freiburg in Baden. The 
object of my journey was to smuggle over the frontier 
a quantity of Russian socialistic literature, printed in 
Switzerland, in order that it might then be distributed 
by secret channels throughout Russia, where of course 
it was prohibited. In Germany a special law against the 
Social-Democratic movement was then in force. The 
Sozialdemokrat was published in Zurich, and had to be 
smuggled over the German frontier, where the watch was 
very keen, rendering most difficult the despatch to Russia 
of Russian, Polish, and other revolutionary literature 
printed in Switzerland. Before the enactment of the 
special law in August, 1878, the procedure had been 
simple. At that time the publications were sent by post 
to some town in Germany near the Russian border, and 
thence, by one way or another, despatched to Russia. 
Later, however, it became necessary to convey them as 
travellers' luggage across the German frontier, in order 
to get them through the custom-house, after which they 
could be forwarded to some German town nearer the 

FREIBURG [chap. 

Russian Jj£f dex.. • • It' jwAs'/op /this transport business that 
I waa-esga^ed,.. : : ... ... ...-•; 

Mf iuggage : »CGnsisted'-0^ '.t^voi large boxes, half-filled 
with; . Ht^raf нгф, and /tHefr' jugpfr'; parts packed with linen 
and other wea'ring apparelj 'tnat'the Customs officers might 
not be suspicious. In one trunk I had men's clothes, 
in the other women's, supposed to belong to my (non- 
existent) wife ; and for this reason there really was a lady 
present at the Customs examination in Basel, — the wife of 
my friend Axelrod from Zurich. She offered to take further 
charge of the transport, thinking she would run less risk 
than I if the police became suspicious. As, however, the 
examination of the luggage went off quite smoothly, I de- 
clined the offer, hardly thinking any further trouble probable. 

Besides Frau Axelrod a Basel Socialist was with me 
at the station. He had advised me how to carry out my 
perilous mission, for he was experienced in such business, 
having managed many transports of forbidden literature. 
Only a few days before, accompanied by a Polish ac- 
quaintance of mine, Yablonski, he had been to Freiburg, 
whence they had despatched some Polish literature. He 
now recommended to me a cheap hotel in Freiburg, close 
to the station ; and in good spirits I climbed into a third- 
class carriage. It was a Sunday, and the carriage was 
filled with people in gay holiday mood. Songs were sung, 
and unrestrained chatter filled the air. The guard was 
pompous and overbearing, as often happened then on 
German lines ; I do not know if it is so still. When he 
saw that I was smoking, he told me very rudely, with 
a great show of official zeal, that this was not a smoking 
carriage. I answered politely that I had not been aware 
of it, and at once threw away my cigarette. He insisted 
peremptorily, however, that I must change carriages. " A 
bad omen," thought I, and still recall the sensation. I was 
out of temper, and felt irritated and uncomfortable. The 
weather, too, grew overcast, and a cold drizzle set in, 
which worked on my nerves. 


The train moved off, and before I had got over my 
grumbling humour we were at Freiburg. It was between 
seven and eight in the evening. Landed on the platform, 
I looked out the porter of the Freiburger Hof, and gave 
him my luggage-check. He noticed at once that it showed 
the unusual weight of my boxes, and expressed his sur- 
prise thereat. To quiet any suspicion I told him at once 
unconcernedly that I was a student, and intended to study 
at Freiburg University, and that it was my books which 
made the trunks so heavy. The hotel was soon reached, 
and a room engaged, after which I betook myself to the 
restaurant for supper. As I passed by the buffet I saw 
the porter whispering earnestly with another man, appar- 
ently the landlord. Directly I had finished my meal the 
waiter brought me the visitors' book ; and as I had a 
Russian passport, lent me by a friend at the time of my 
flight from Russia, I at once signed myself in my friend's 
name, " Alexander Buligin, of Moscow." I then ordered 
writing materials and went to my room, but had barely 
shut the door behind me when there came a knock. At 
my " Come in ! " there appeared, instead of a servant with 
writing things, as I had expected, a policeman, accom- 
panied by a gentleman in civil dress. " I am an officer of 
the secret police," said the latter ; " allow me to examine 
your trunks." Instantly I thought, " As Freiburg is so 
near the Swiss frontier, the police (to whom the porter 
must have announced the arrival of a young man with 
unusually heavy luggage), may think I have contraband 
goods ; or they may take me for an anarchist, and suspect 
me of conveying dynamite." I tried, therefore, to look as 
harmless as possible, although I felt that things were 
awkward. Busied with the unlocking of my boxes, I let 
fall the remark that one of them contained the belongings 
of my wife, whom I expected shortly. No sooner, how- 
ever, had the men begun to turn over my things, than 
I saw that my guess as to their search for contraband was 
incorrect ; the detective was on the look-out for neither 

4 FREIBURG [chap. 

contraband nor dynamite, but for books, and he imme- 
diately began to examine mine. I then concluded he was 
looking for German Social-Democratic literature ; and I 
was astonished when, at sight of a little book bound in 
red, my gentleman cried triumphantly, " Ah, here we are ! " 

It was the Calendar of the Narbdnaia Vblya? a book 
that had come out about a year before this, and was 
openly sold by German booksellers. 

" I must now have you searched," said the police agent. 

Besides a notebook, a letter, and a pocket-book con- 
taining several hundred-mark notes, there were in my 
pockets a dozen numbers of the Zurich Sozialdemokrat y 
which I had brought with me to send to a Russian friend 
in Germany. 

" Here at least is something that we can read ! " said the 
detective in a satisfied tone ; " now, I arrest you ! " 

" Why ? What for ? " asked I, much astonished. 

" That you will soon find out ; come along ! " was the 

The procedure of the police agent was extraordinary in 
every way : no attempt was made to fulfil the legal enact- 
ments for the protection of personal safety ; the domiciliary 
search was instituted without legal warrant ; there were no 
witnesses. I insisted on the officer's counting over in my 
presence the money in my pocket-book, which they had 
confiscated, though of course that was not much guarantee 
for the security of my property. 

As I was descending the steps of the hotel, a prisoner 
between my two guardian angels, a young lady carrying a 
small travelling-bag met us. The detective asked me 
if this were my wife, and, notwithstanding my reply in the 
negative, tried to seize hold of her. She evidently thought 
she had to do with some Don Juan, and fled screaming 
into the street ; whereupon the detective ordered the 

1 Narbdnaia Vblya: literally, "the People's Will," the name of the chief 
revolutionary party in Russia at the time with which the narrative is now 
dealing, and also of its secretly printed newspaper. — Trans. 


policeman to lead me on, and himself followed the un- 
known lady. 

The policeman now tried to take me by the arm, and 
so conduct me through the streets, but I hotly resisted 
such treatment, declaring that I had committed no crime, 
and that he had no possible justification for putting me in 
such a position. 

We arrived at last at the House of Detention. Here 
I was searched again, and for the first time since my 
arrest was questioned by an official as to my personal 

My detective soon appeared, bringing the lady, who, 
weeping bitterly, protested her absolute innocence, and 
indignantly demanded the explanation of such an insult. 
Coming on the top of all my own experiences since my 
arrival in Freiburg this scene put me into a state of fury. 

" What is all this ? " cried I to the police officer. " How 
can you take upon yourself to insult this lady ? I repeat 
again that I do not know her ; she is not my wife, and 
I have never set eyes on her in my life before." 

"Well, we shall see about that. It is my business. It 
is no affair of yours whom we arrest," declared he ; and 
I thought to myself, " This is a nice state of things ! We 
might as well be in Russia." 

I was then told to follow a warder, who took me up to 
the first floor. The lock of a cell-door turned, grating, 
and I found myself installed in the Grand-Ducal prison of 

When the warder had withdrawn with his lantern 
absolute silence reigned, and the chamber was perfectly 
dark. Lights were not allowed here either in the cells or 
passages. I took my bearings as well as I could, groping 
along the walls, and, having found a bed, I lay down fully 
dressed as I was. My mind was in a state of chaos ; I 
could follow no clear train of thought, nor form any 
conclusions about what had occurred. The sense of 
fate weighed me down ; my strength seemed broken. 

6 FREIBURG [chap. 

Sinister dreams left me no peace all night, and conse- 
quently I awoke from slumber in a dazed condition, not 
knowing where I was or what had happened to me. 
When at last with an effort I realised my position, despair 
seized on me. Extradition to Russia stared me in the 
face ; I could not banish the fear of it. True, at that time 
there was no extradition treaty between Germany and 
Russia which applied to political refugees. 1 But I had 
special reasons for fearing that I might be treated ex- 
ceptionally ; and that the significance of my position may 
be clear to the reader, I must now give some details of 
my earlier career. 

In 1874, J us * ten years before the events described 
above, as a youth of nineteen I had joined the " Propa- 
gandist movement," 2 which at that time engrossed a great 
number of young students throughout Russia. Like most 
of the young Propagandists, I was led to this chiefly by 
sympathy with the sufferings and endurance of the people. 
According to our views, it was the sacred duty of every 
reasonable and upright human being who really loved his 
country to devote all his powers to the object of freeing 
the people from the economic oppression, the slavery, the 
barbarism, to which they were subjected. The young 
generation, always most prone to pity the misfortunes 
of others, could not remain indifferent to the miserable 
situation of the newly enfranchised serfs. An entire 
social revolution in Russia appeared to the Propagandists 
the sole means of altering the existing wretched material 
conditions, and of removing the heavy burden on the people ; 
following, therefore, the teaching of the Socialists of Western 
Europe, they set before themselves as their ultimate object 
the abolition of private property and the collective owner- 

1 This treaty was only concluded in the autumn of 1885. 

2 Organised by the revolutionists for teaching the principles of Socialism, 
and awakening the desire for liberty ; for which purpose was instituted the 
policy of "going among the people," i.e, living among the peasants like one 
of themselves, — Trans. 


ship of the means of production. The Propagandists felt 
entirely convinced that the people would instantly em- 
brace their ideas and aims and join them at the first 
appeal. This belief was an inspiration to them, and 
spurred them to unlimited self-sacrifice for the idea that 
possessed them. These youths and girls renounced with- 
out hesitation their previous social position and the assured 
future that the existing order of things offered them ; 
without further ado they left the educational institutions 
where they were studying, recklessly broke all family ties, 
and threw their personal fate into the balance, in order to 
live entirely for the idea, to sacrifice themselves without 
stint for the idea, to make every faculty and possibility 
serve in the sacred cause of the people's deliverance. 
Any personal sacrifice seemed to these young enthusiasts 
scarcely worth speaking of when the great cause was in 
question. The common ideal, the common aim, and the 
enthusiasm of each individual drew the Propagandists 
together into one great family, linked by all the ties of 
affection and mutual dependence. Fraternal relations of 
the most affectionate intimacy grew up among all these 
young people ; a complete altruism governed their actions, 
and each was prepared for any sacrifice on behalf of 
another. Only in great historical moments, in the time 
of the early Christian martyrdoms, and the founding of 
religious sects, have proselytes manifested such personal 
devotion, such exalted feeling. l 

In this elect band, however, there were found (as has 
happened in every such movement) individuals not 
capable of this unselfish fervour ; there were among 
them some paltry spirits, and even some who proved 
traitors. Certainly the number of these latter was in- 
finitesimally small ; but the history of revolutionary 
movements shows sufficiently that hundreds of the most 

1 The reader who is interested in this period of the Russian revolution will 
find much information in the work of Professor Thun, Geschichte der rcvohi- 
tionaren Bctvegung in A'uss/and, and in Stepniak's Underground Russia. 

8 FREIBURG . [chap. 

able secret or public agents of a government can never 
do a tithe of the harm to a secret society that can be 
effected by a single traitor in its own ranks. In this 
manner did treachery become pregnant with evil results 
for the Propagandists, and it gave to the movement a char- 
acter it might otherwise never have developed. Early in 
the year 1874 the young revolutionists, men and women, 
went out "among the people," according to the plan 
they had formed ; they distributed themselves among 
the villages, where they lived and dressed like peasants, 
carrying on an active Socialist propaganda. But scarcely 
had they begun operations when treachery made itself 
apparent ; two or three of the initiated denounced the 
organisation, and delivered over hundreds of their com- 
rades to the authorities. Searches and arrests took place 
without number; the police pounced on "guilty" and 
innocent alike, and all the prisons in Russia were soon 
filled to overflowing. In this one year more than a 
thousand persons were seized. Many of them suffered 
long years of imprisonment under the most horrible con- 
ditions, some committed suicide, others lost their reason, 
and in many cases long terms of incarceration resulted in 
illness and premature death. Under these circumstances 
the reader can conceive the bitter hatred kindled in the 
ranks of the Socialists against the traitors who had 
sacrificed so many lives. The knowledge of the victims' 
terrible sufferings would naturally incite their friends to 
avenge them ; inevitably, too, the thought would arise 
of punishing treachery, in order to put a stop by in- 
timidation to the trade of the informer. But the 
Propagandists were in the highest degree men of peace, 
and it was not easy for them to harbour thoughts of 
violence. When such ideas were first mooted, they long 
remained only subjects of discussion. 

Not till the summer of 1876 did the first attempt to put 
the terrorist theory into practice take place. The circum- 
stances were as follows. The members of a revolutionary 


group well known at the time — the Kiev Buntari x — had 
assembled at Elisavetgrad. I belonged to this organisa- 
tion. Many of the members were " illegals," 2 and for 
some time past the gendarmerie had been making captures 
among them, acting on the information of a traitor named 
Gorinovitch. This Gorinovitch had been imprisoned in 
1874, and being in the greatest danger had saved himself 
by telling everything he knew about the Russian Socialists. 
His revelations had injured many ; yet, as in numerous 
other cases, not a hair of this renegade's head would 
have been touched, if he had kept clear of revolutionary 
circles. But about two years after his release from prison 
he tried again to insinuate himself among us, and he 
managed to get into the confidence of some inexperienced 
young people, who of course had no notion of the part he 
had formerly played. From them he learned that the 
Kiev Society had assembled at Elisavetgrad ; he came 
there at once, and sought to find out what the persons 
he had before betrayed were doing. We recognised him, 
however, and it soon became evident to us that he was 
playing the spy, and preparing some fresh treachery. 
So I and one other comrade resolved to put an end to 
his life. 

Our determination could not be carried into effect in 
Elisavetgrad itself, or it might have resulted in giving 
the police a clue for the discovery of our organisation. 
We therefore asked Gorinovitch if he would go with 
us to Odessa to find the persons he was in search of, 
and he agreed. There in a lonely spot we attempted 
to execute our mission, and left Gorinovitch lying, as we 
thought, dead, with a paper fastened on his breast bearing 

1 Bunt means both "uprising" and "revolt"; the name of the society 
might he translated "Agitators of Kiev." Its object was to stir up and 
organise risings among the peasantry. — Trans, 

2 In the language of the Russian revolutionaries those are called 
" illegals " who have for any reason already become suspected by the 
authorities, and who therefore must conceal their identity under fictitious 

ю FREIBURG [chap. 

the inscription, " So perish all traitors ! " But he was only 
severely injured, was found by the police, and survived 
to give information concerning his attempted assassination. 
Searches and arrests followed in due course, and although 
at the time I succeeded in avoiding capture, in the autumn 
of the following year I was arrested, together with other 
comrades, on account of the famous Tchigirin case. 1 

I was imprisoned in Kiev, but in the beginning of 
1З78 I escaped 2 in company with Stefanovitch and 

Those who were concerned in the attempt against 
Gorinovitch were prosecuted for the first time in Novem- 
ber, 1879, at a period when both the "red" and the 
"white" terrorism 3 had blazed up. After a series of 
attempts against different representatives of the Govern- 
ment, the revolutionists had concentrated their entire 
strength on the endeavour to assassinate Alexander II. 
The Government combated the terrorist movement by 
means of special enactments, martial law, and death 
penalties, to which large numbers of people were sentenced 
who were perfectly innocent of complicity in the above 
deeds. On November 19th, some days before the 
beginning of the Gorinovitch case (and after the accused 
had been acquainted with the facts alleged against them, 

1 At the time of the emancipation of the serfs the peasants in the Tchigirin 
district of the province of Kiev did not wish to divide into private property 
the land allotted to them, but to hold it in common, as was done in the north 
of Russia. In 1875 the Government took the harshest measures against them : 
arrests, executions, and persecutions of every kind ; but the peasants held firm. 
The revolutionists, among others Stefanovitch, Bohanovsky, and myself, 
resolved accordingly to organise a rising among the Tchigirin peasantry. Our 
plans failed, we ourselves were arrested, and the Tchigirin trial instituted. 
See also Thun's Geschichte der revolutionaren Bewegung in Russland, and 
Stepniak's Underground Russia. 

2 See note, p. 98. 

3 "White " terrorism was that practised by the Government for the intimida- 
tion of the revolutionists — wholesale arrests, banishment, imprisonment, 
death penalties, etc. " Red " terrorism was the answer of the revolutionists, — 
war waged against the Government and its representatives with pistol, knife, 
and bomb, also with the object of intimidation. — Trans. 


for which they were only liable to comparatively light 
sentences), the Terrorists blew up a train on the Moscow 
line, believing the Tsar to be in it. In consequence of this 
the Government determined to revenge themselves upon 
the accused in the Gorinovitch case. Of these only one 
had been directly implicated, and as all had been im- 
prisoned two or three years already before the beginning 
of the terrorist agitation, they could under no circum- 
stances be supposed answerable for that agitation. In 
spite of this it was decided to u make an example " by 
inflicting a heavy sentence. Three of the accused, — 
Drebyasghin, Malinka, and Maidansky — were condemned 
to death by hanging, and were executed on December 3rd ; 
two — Kostyurin and Yankovski — were sentenced to penal 
servitude ; and the traitors Krayev and Kuritzin were set 
free. If I had been in the power of these judges my fate 
would have been sealed. However, early in the year 1880 
I effected my escape from Russia, and I had been living 
in Switzerland up to the time of my going to Freiburg as 
previously described. From all this it will be clear with 
what feelings I contemplated the possibility of extradi- 
tion to Russia. 



IN Germany, as a constitutional state, the law requires 
that no one shall be imprisoned for more than four- 
and-twenty hours without a magistrate's order. As a 
foreigner, however, this was not held to apply to me ; and 
it was only after two days that I was brought before a 

After he had asked me the usual questions as to name, 
position, and antecedents, he informed me that being a 
foreigner whose identity could not be immediately estab- 
lished, I must remain in prison. He added that, of course, 
I could appeal against this decision, but that I should find 
it useless to do so. And, in fact, the appeal that I did 
make was rejected. 

So after this examination I was as wise as ever regard- 
ing the cause of my arrest. Again, I began turning over 
and over my various conjectures. Uncertainty is always 
an unpleasant condition, and most prisoners have to endure 
it ; but in my case uncertainty racked me with the most 
dreadful apprehensions. After three days that seemed 
endless, I was again taken before the magistrate. When 
the ordinary questions had been answered he asked me 
if I knew the reason of my arrest. On my reply in the 
negative he gave me the following explanation : — 

Some days before my arrival from Basel two men had 
come from the same place, (my acquaintance, the Swiss 
Socialist, and the Pole Yablonski.) They also had put up 



at the Freiburger Hof ; they also had brought boxes filled 
with books. They had despatched those books to a man 
in Breslau, who had just been imprisoned under the law 
against Socialists ; and in connection with his arrest 
the police had confiscated the parcel, in which were dis- 
covered Polish socialistic pamphlets prohibited in Germany. 
The senders having given the address of the Freiburger 
Hof, the pamphlets had been sent back to Freiburg, as 
a preliminary to the search for the persons who had 
despatched them. Orders were given at the hotel to 
inform the police if they or any other suspicious characters 
should arrive from Switzerland. Thus it was that the 
hotel porter, learning that I had books in my trunk, had, 
after consultation with the landlord, given information 
which led to the appearance of the police. The detective 
had found among my books the duplicate of one in the 
Breslau parcel — the Calendar of the Narbdnaia Vblya ; 
and when he also discovered copies of the Sozial- 
demokrat, things were suspicious enough to warrant my 
arrest. The charge against me, therefore, was that in 
conjunction with other persons I was guilty of distributing 
prohibited Polish literature in Germany. 

On hearing this, it was easy for me to reply to the 
charge that there was nothing in Polish among my books, 
nor any single book which had been prohibited in Germany; 
and as to the copies of the Sozialdemokrat, their possession 
was no offence. The question resolved itself simply into 
this : Whether I was in conspiracy with certain persons, 
and whether I had not in any case been circulating for- 
bidden literature. Chance alone had led to my capture. 

"If you had not gone to the Freiburger Hof nobody 
would have thought of arresting you," said Herr Leiblen, 
the magistrate. 

My spirits rose on hearing this. I said to myself, " All 
is not lost yet. Perhaps everything will go off smoothly, 
and I shall soon be set free, if only the Russian Govern- 
ment is kept out of the game." That was the thought 

i4 FREIBURG [chap. 

which occupied me while the magistrate was writing out 
the protocol. He then said, pointing to a gentleman who 
sat at a table somewhat apart, " That is the interpreter 
who is assisting us in your case, a professor of our 

During my examination I had once or twice looked 
round at this gentleman. He seemed known to me, and 
his presence caused me involuntary uneasiness. 

" You can speak Russian with the Herr Professor," con- 
cluded Herr Leiblen, as he left the room to fetch some 

" Do you not recognise me ? " said the interpreter, 
turning round. 

" Professor Thun ! " cried I in great astonishment. 

" What ! am I so much altered that you didn't know me 
before ? " he asked, and did not wait for my answer, but 
continued without pause, " How can I help you ? " 

" Do you know who I really am ? " I asked, without 
replying, and a cold shudder ran through me. 

" Yes ; I know your true name. But there is no need 
for alarm. You have turned quite pale ! " 

His recognition had indeed given me no small fright. 
I had come to know Professor Thun about a year and a 
half before this time in Basel, whither I had then betaken 
myself in order that, being there at some distance from 
the colony of Russian refugees, I might be freer from 
interruptions to my studies than when surrounded by 
friends and acquaintances. I had matriculated in the 
Basel University, and was attending Professor Thun's 
lectures on political economy and statistics. Karl Moor, 
a leader of the Basel working-men, had introduced me 
personally to the professor, who supposed me to be simply 
a Russian student, not knowing me by my real name, but 
under the assumed one of Nicholas Kridner. He invited 
me to call on him, and confided to me his plan of writing a 
history of the revolutionary movement in Russia. Of this 
plan I had already heard, and it was partly this that had 


attracted me to Basel. Professor Thun was a Rhinelander, 
had studied at Dorpat, and had then passed some years in 
the interior of Russia. He spoke Russian fluently, and 
was pretty well up in Russian affairs. When he found, in 
conversation with me, that I was not unacquainted with 
the Russian revolutionary movement, he suggested that I 
should help him in his work, to which of course I gladly 
assented ; and thus it happened that we became rather 
intimate. In this way I learned Professor Thun's views 
regarding the Terrorists and their deeds. He condemned 
them ruthlessly ; according to his convictions, it was the 
duty of all European governments to refuse such persons 
the right of asylum, and to deliver them over as ordinary 
criminals to the Russian authorities. In particular I had 
a lively recollection of the following occurrence. Professor 
Thun had given a lecture in the Basel " Freisinniges 
Verein," before a large audience, on " Two Episodes in the 
Russian Revolutionary Movement." These two episodes 
were the attempted assassination of Alexander II. and the 
Tchigirln case. In speaking of the latter he related how 
Stefanovitch, Bohanovsky, and I had escaped from the 
fortress of Kiev; 1 and he closed with the remark that these 
criminals were living in foreign parts, and had " unfor- 
tunately" not yet been captured. I had an opportunity 
afterwards of speaking to him on the subject, and gathered 
the impression that if he knew my real name Professor 
Thun would not only break off all connection with me, 
but under certain circumstances would even perhaps assist 
in my "capture." This led me to reduce my personal 
relations with him to a minimum, and besides I shortly 
afterwards left Basel. 

Now here I was standing, a prisoner, before this man, 
and he knew who I really was ! My feelings may be 

" How do you know my name ? " I asked, trembling 
with excitement. 

1 See note, p. 98. 

іб FREIBURG [chap. 

" Your friend, Karl Moor, told me it in confidence after 
you had left Basel." 

" And although you know who I am you offer me your 
help ? " asked I in surprise. 

" Yes. Only tell me how to help you, and I will do 
what I can." 

I could scarcely grasp it, but one look in his eyes 
convinced me that I might trust him ; it was that intuitive 
confidence that, once given, is unbounded. 

"Thank you," said I. "Well, if I do not succeed in 
getting out of prison by lawful means, I shall try to escape. 
Would you stand by me then ? " 

** Certainly," said he simply and earnestly. 

I still could hardly believe my ears. This German 
professor, whom I had heard publicly express his regret 
that the minions of Tsarism had not yet caught me — in 
other words, that I was not hanging on the gallows — this 
same man now offered me help to fly from a German 
prison ! He gave me, however, undeniable proof of his 
sincerity. As translator he was in possession of all books, 
letters, etc., taken from me ; he now produced my note- 
book, and advised me to tear out and destroy pages on 
which he had noticed addresses entered that might 
prejudice my cause. Of course, I immediately acted on 
his suggestion. 

I then proposed to him that he should go to Basel 
without delay, tell my friend Axelrod what had occurred, 
instruct him what steps he could take to obtain my 
release by legal means, and finally, arrange with him 
some way of effecting my escape should the danger of 
extradition to Russia arise. 

This task Professor Thun fulfilled to the letter ; and 
during my imprisonment in Freiburg he did me many 
kind offices, running serious risk of thereby compromising 
his own position. He arranged secret meetings in 
Freiburg Cathedral with my friends, who had come in 
haste on the chance of being useful to me. He was also 


the medium of both verbal and written communication 
between me and my comrades. 

Having the right of free access to me, as the authorities 
placed full confidence in an illustrious professor, he often 
had me called into the translator's office, where we could 
chat undisturbed. In these conversations I saw how 
much he had taken my affairs to heart. He went so far 
as to offer his house as a refuge if I were obliged to 
attempt an escape. Sometimes he joked about the part 
he was playing: — "Look at me, now," he would say, 
laughing ; " I, a German professor of dignity and position, 
have become a Russian conspirator ; and this peaceful 
town of Freiburg is the scene of a plot ! " Through his 
relations with the magistrate he knew how my case was 
going on, and of course he kept me posted up. 

At the first hearing of my case I made the following 
statement : — I was a Russian student, and had come 
abroad in pursuit of my studies. I had married here, and 
had one child. Hitherto I had lived in Switzerland, but 
now I wished to remain in Freiburg, whither my wife, now 
in Zurich, was to follow me. I lived partly by literary 
work, partly on private means. In Switzerland I had 
attended the University as " hospitant n (an occasional 
student at lectures). 1 As for my political opinions, when 
I left Russia they were still somewhat undecided ; but the 
influence of German literature had led me to join the 
Social Democrats, and I had determined to assist, as far as 
I could, in the propagating of their views in my own 
country. 2 When, for various reasons, I had determined to 

1 These particulars were necessary, because they applied to Buligin, the 
friend from whom I had borrowed a passport for this journey, and whose 
name I always used when travelling. He really did live at Zurich with his 
wife and child, and attended the University there. 

2 This corresponded pretty nearly with fact. About a year previously, 
in 1883, Plehanov, Vera Zassoulitch, Axelrod, and I had founded the Social- 
Democratic organisation — "The League for the Emancipation of Labour"; 
the object of which was to spread the doctrines of Marx in Russia, by means 
of translations and original writings. Some of the papers in my box were of 
this description, the firstfruits of our literary activity, which had just been 
printed by our private press established for the purpose. 


i8 FREIBURG [chap. 

live in Germany, I had brought with me the publications 
found in my possession, meaning to sell them eventually 
to the country people. They were not prohibited in 
Germany, and their possession was in no possible sense 
an infringement of German law. " And now," I concluded, 
"in a free German town, in Frei-Burg, I have been 
arrested with no legal justification, without any of the 
prescribed formalities, I am subjected to all manner of 
indignities, and clapped into gaol like a common male- 
factor. As if that were not enough, the police, with no 
shadow of excuse, seized upon and arrested a lady of this 
town as if she were a pickpocket or disturber of the peace. 
I may well ask, What difference is there between this con- 
stitutional state of the German Empire and the absolute 
despotism of Russia? No one could have been worse 
treated, even in Russia ! " 

These words seemed to make some impression on the 
magistrate. He walked up and down excitedly, while he 
dictated my statement to the clerk, assured me repeatedly 
of his sympathy, and asserted his keen disapproval of the 
way in which the police had behaved towards me and the 
young lady. At one point he muttered, " Still, as Othello 
says, 'The handkerchief, the handkerchief!'" Herr 
Leiblen appeared to be quite on my side, and Professor 
Thun told me later that he had declared the matter 
seemed to him harmless enough ; in his opinion here was 
a perfectly innocent person being kept shut up in prison, 
and he hoped I should soon be set free. I had therefore a 
well-grounded hope of obtaining my release in due course ; 
nevertheless doubts continued to arise, and thoughts of 
escape still haunted me. With some slight help from 
outside it would probably have been by no means difficult 
during these first days of my imprisonment. 

One day, while I was still in this state of suspense 
betwixt hope and fear, I was called into the visitors' 
room. I expected to find Professor Thun there, and was 
surprised at being confronted by a man perfectly unknown 

п] MY LAWYER 19 

to me. He introduced himself by name (I cannot re- 
collect it now), and informed me that he was a lawyer, 
who had been engaged by my friends to undertake my 
defence. He announced himself as a comrade, a member 
of the Social-Democratic party, and invited me to be quite 
open with him, as my friends had already told him every- 
thing concerning my past career. " You think of attempt- 
ing to escape ? " he asked in a whisper ; and when I 
assented he continued quickly, " That would be a most 
fatal mistake. I have just seen the minutes of your case ; 
the affair is going splendidly for you. I have no doubt 
you will soon be set at liberty. Why should you risk 
the dangers of a flight ? If the attempt were to fail you 
would be in an infinitely worse position than now. I 
have been talking to the magistrate ; he is convinced there 
is nothing of any significance against you. As soon as 
inquiries in Switzerland have elicited a satisfactory reply 
regarding your identity you will be released." 

" But," I interposed, " supposing a simultaneous inquiry 
is set on foot in Russia ? " 

" There is no ground whatever for such a proceeding," 
replied the lawyer, " and if it were contemplated we 
should get to know it somehow. Germany is not Russia. 
With us legal proceedings are not secret. On the con- 
trary, the law provides that your trial shall be held in 
public, and all documents relative to the case are without 
delay submitted to me as your counsel. In such docu- 
ments mention would be made if an understanding with 
the Russian authorities were suggested. In our conduct 
of such cases it is absolutely out of the question that such 
a weighty complication should be kept private." 

11 Yes," I interrupted, " but how can you be sure that the 
police executive will not put the political and adminis- 
trative authorities in communication with Russia?" 

" The Government and the police would never combine 
in an affair of law without some announcement. You 
were arrested because there were grounds for supposing 

2o FREIBURG [chap, ii 

you in relation with persons who had made themselves 
liable to prosecution by German law. If you are set free 
— as neither I nor the magistrate have the slightest 
doubt that you will be — you will be discharged uncondi- 
tionally. There is nothing now to wait for but the 
establishment of your identity in Switzerland. You may 
rely on this. As a German lawyer I know all our legal 
methods ; you, on the other hand, judge from Russian 
conditions, which are altogether different." 

An inner voice said to me that the consistency of 
German law was not so entirely to be trusted ; but I had 
no rational ground for demur, as German affairs of the 
kind were perfectly strange to me. And an attempt to 
escape, although it might have been easily managed in the 
first instance, became more risky as time went on. Though 
not quite abandoning the idea, these considerations led 
me to set it aside for the moment, till we had some proof 
of collaboration between the Russian and German Govern- 
ments. Apparently such a step could not be hidden from 
me ; and I had the well-known and influential Professor 
Thun on my side, who was on the best of terms with the 
authorities both of town and state. News must reach me 
through him if anything fresh were planned. 




FOR some time longer I had to remain in the prison 
of Freiburg, vacillating between the expectation of 
speedy release and the dread of extradition. Every day 
I changed my mood a dozen, nay, a hundred times ; and 
this everlasting alternation had a most depressing effect. 
The days dragged on, and seemed endless, although I 
tried to occupy myself by every possible device. I was 
well supplied with books — my comrades and Professor 
Thun saw to that — and I was accommodated with writing 
materials. So I read much, and tried to put on paper my 
thoughts, impressions, and recollections. 

But it was not only uncertainty as to my own fate that 
worked on my spirits : anxiety about my friends, and 
about the further development of our " League for the 
Emancipation of Labour" troubled me. Our organisation 
was only in its infancy ; we were but a small band, and our 
means scanty. In coming to Germany for the despatch of 
our first output over the Russian border, I had planned at 
the same time to arrange for future transport. On this 
account I had many duties to discharge, regarding not 
only money matters, but organisation. I had also left 
behind me in Switzerland much business that called for 
my return as soon as possible. All my comrades had 
their hands full ; time was precious to them all. And 
now not only was I sitting here in prison, condemned 
to inaction, but all the other members of our League were 


22 FREIBURG [chap. 

occupied with my affairs, and waiting about to see how 
they could help me. The consciousness of this check to 
our work, and of being its involuntary cause, oppressed 
me, and raised my impatience to the highest pitch. 

My state can easily be pictured if one imagines a man 
who has an important and urgent affair to manage, and 
who suddenly breaks his leg, so that instead of pressing 
on to the goal he must lie inert on a sick-bed. But in 
that pitiable state he would be preoccupied with his 
physical suffering ; and I, being free from pain, was given 
over entirely to worry and distress of mind. 

The conditions of prison life left much to be desired. 
At first, particularly, I found them hard to bear, till by 
degrees I accustomed myself to German regulations. As 
I have already said, the cells were not lighted at night, 
and there was nothing for a prisoner to do but to sleep 
away the long hours of darkness, if he could. I afterwards 
learned that light was denied for fear of fire, and on the 
same ground smoking was forbidden. What there was 
to burn I could not imagine ; for, except the doors, the 
window-frames, and the floors, there was no wood, the 
building being of massive stone. 1 

The irksomeness of the long evenings without light, and 
the prohibition of smoking, must for many people be not 
only a discomfort, but a hard penance. Yet there should 
have been no question of punishment in this prison, as 
only accused persons awaiting trial were detained there. 

The behaviour of the prison officials towards the 
prisoners was anything but tender. For instance, this is 
what took place on one of my first days. Exercise in 
the prison yard was taken by all the inmates of one 
corridor at the same time. We were trotted round in a 

1 During my stay in Siberia, later, this fear of fire in the German prison 
was often brought to my mind. Thousands of prisoners, condemned to exile 
or to penal servitude, are there confined in wooden barracks, serving alike as 
prisons and as halting-places for convoys of exiles on the march. These 
buildings are always lighted, and the prisoners smoke quite calmly, without 
anyone thinking of danger from fire. 


continual goose-step, always a certain number of paces 
distant each one from the other. One felt like a horse 
being led round the riding-school by a rope. I found that 
many prisoners regarded it as a humiliation, and preferred 
to forego the chance of fresh air. One day during this 
walk the military guard was being changed in the prison 
yard. The formalities of German drill were new to me, 
and involuntarily I stopped a moment to look, thus up- 
setting our beautiful order by not keeping at the correct 
distance between my preceder and follower ; besides, per- 
haps I also dropped out of line an inch or so. Suddenly 
I felt someone seize me by the shoulder, abusing me 
violently. I scarcely knew what was happening till 1 
found myself being raged at by the warder in my cell, 
whither he had whisked me off. The man was like one 
possessed, and threatened to deprive me of exercise if I 
behaved as I had done. At first I could not understand 
what frightful misdemeanour I had committed. When it 
dawned on me that all this was because of my momentary 
pause, it was my turn to show temper. I asked the man 
how he dared treat me so, informed him that prisoner 
though I was I would not permit anyone to knock me 
about or abuse me, and said that if such a harmless in- 
fringement of discipline was looked on as an offence 
against German prison rules, it was his plain duty to 
have warned me of the fact, and so on. This had its 
effect ; the man's bearing instantly became milder, and 
thenceforward our intercourse was on the most peaceful 

The prison rations were quite insufficient ; there was 
never enough to satisfy a full-grown man. If I remember 
rightly, they consisted of a pound and a half of rye bread 
daily, and twice in the day a little soup or gruel. Meat 
was only allowed twice a week in the first month, and 
that in microscopic portions. Even the gaolers admitted 
that unless a prisoner had means for providing himself 
with extra food, he would never get enough to eat. 

24 FREIBURG [chap. 

The cells on the first floor, one of which I first inhabited, 
were roomy, bright, and clean. For furniture they were 
provided with a table, a stool, and a bed, the latter having 
a mattress, straw pillow, and woollen covering. In one 
corner of the room stood the stove, heated from the 
corridor and surrounded by an iron grating intended to 
prevent escape by the chimney. On the wall hung a copy 
of the regulations, whereby prisoners were informed of the 
various penalties for the slightest departure from the rules. 
All these rules were framed to spare the staff trouble, and 
to make the business of looking after the inmates as 
simple as possible. The interest of the inmates was not 
considered ; they were not treated like people unconvicted 
of crime, but rather as malefactors deserving punishment, 
which the prison staff on their own responsibility had 
to see carried out in their own way. I will give an 

One day I was conducted from my cell to a corridor on 
the ground-floor, where a number of prisoners were already 
ranged along the wall, evidently awaiting something. 
I was directed to a place. I wanted to know what was 
happening ; and after I had asked several times in vain, 
the gaoler told me that the Catholic priest had come, and 
wished to speak to all the prisoners, who would be taken 
to him one by one in order. I said that I was a Socialist 
and had nothing to do with Catholic or any other priests. 
I therefore begged to be taken back to my cell. This 
seemed to strike the man as irresistibly comic, and he 
burst into an ironic laugh. 

" What you want or don't want is all the same to us. 
He wants to see you, and so you will be taken to him." 

The warders who stood by were immensely tickled. 
They joked about the Russian barbarian who came to 
a German prison and expected to have his own opinions 
taken into account. So before the priest I went, but our 
conversation was of the shortest. To his question about 
my religion I answered that I was a Social Democrat, and 


belonged to no Church. Whereupon he looked at me 
compassionately and dismissed me. 

Another disagreeable feature of life in this prison was 
the system of espionage. Often, when I was buried in my 
book or writing, a warder would suddenly appear. He 
would creep along on tiptoe to open the door noise- 
lessly and spy round, probably designing to catch me 
if I were looking out of the window — a diversion strictly 
forbidden by the rules. Not only here, but in other 
German prisons that I have seen, the extravagant care 
with which the prisoners and their things were inspected 
was perfectly ridiculous. For instance, a dozen oranges 
sent me by my friends aroused the suspicions of the 
warders, and they conscientiously cut up every single 
orange into quarters to see if there were anything inside ! 
So far as I know, even Russian gendarmes have never 
given one credit for contriving a hiding-place in an uncut 
orange or apple. The good people, however, do not 
achieve their purpose, in spite of all their cleverness. The 
" kassiber," 1 or written message to or from prisoners, passes 
under their very noses. Nor had I ever any difficulty in 
getting forbidden articles conveyed into any German 

As I have said, the numerous petty formalities made me 
very impatient at first, but I accustomed myself at last 
more or less to German prison methods, and the officials 
dropped their over-zealous harshness towards me, and 
became more confidential. The fact that I was a foreigner, 
a Russian, rather interested them, as probably they had 
never even seen one before. And then, however in- 
corruptible a German official may be, the possession of 
worldly resources cannot fail to influence him. The staff 
knew that I was in command of money. The chief 
inspector, a man named Roth, boarded me ; and they 
knew I had everything that could mitigate the hardness 
of my lot, that my friends, in fact, supplied me with all 

1 " Kassiber," Russian prison-slang. 

26 FREIBURG [chap. 

sorts of little comforts and luxuries. This seemed to impress 
the prison staff, and I also was for ever telling them I should 
certainly be released very soon. I really almost believed 
it, and they seemed to do so, too — at any rate, for a time. 
The staff consisted of three men — two warders and the 
chief inspector, who was also the governor of the gaol. 
All three often came to chat with me ; they asked me 
questions about Russia, and on their side related much 
about German matters — prisons, laws, and other things in 
which they were interested. They all impressed me as 
being perfectly contented with their situations ; indeed, 
their wages were comparatively high — up to 2,000 marks 
(£100) and more a year, if I am not mistaken. The 
warder with whom I had had the tiff recounted above 
paid me many visits. He, like the other two, had been 
a soldier, and was therefore imbued with notions of strict 
military discipline, which is the watchword throughout 
German prisons. Though in outward appearance hard 
and even forbidding, he was really a good-natured 
creature. Of his own initiative he asked me to let him 
have the remains of my meals, to take to a neighbouring 
prisoner who was poor and often went hungry through 
being unable to afford extra food. Of course I gladly con- 
sented. This warder was a big, powerfully-built man, aged 
about thirty, who had taken his present situation because 
he did not like his original trade — that of a joiner. Like 
most German workmen, he had only been to a Volksschule 
(public elementary school), but the instruction given there 
is far better than in similar schools in my own country ; 
and in comparison with our workmen of like standing, he 
might be considered a highly intellectual person. We 
talked over all sorts of things — politics among the rest — 
and he told me he was a supporter of the existing Govern- 
ment — the National Liberals, I think. My own attain- 
ments caused him great admiration, especially my know- 
ledge of French and German, as well as of my own 


The way they dealt with my money was a little odd. 
As I have said, the money in my pocket-book was taken 
possession of at the time of my arrest. Some days later 
the inspector presented me with an account of expenditure. 
It appeared that the police had been most generous on 
my behalf. A day's use of the room at the hotel, which 
I had barely seen, was paid for, and four or five marks 
in addition as " compensation for disturbance." Further- 
more, as the good people had not been able to open 
my second box, although they had the key, they had 
paid a locksmith (very liberally too) to open it. Naturally 
I made no objection to the bill, but I felt somewhat amused 
at having to pay for the " disturbance ,: of my arrest, and 
the breaking open of my own trunk ! 

Soon after my imprisonment I was taken to a photo- 
grapher's and photographed. I did not like this at all, 
as I feared that my portrait might be sent to Russia and 
recognised ; but I could not make any protest, lest my 
reasons should be suspected. The photograph was needed 
for the inquiry in Switzerland, that by means of it I might 
be identified as Buligin. The Swiss authorities certified 
that it did represent Buligin, with whose passport I always 
travelled ; so that part of the inquiry was got through 
safely. Also, the proofs I adduced of my not being 
implicated in the doings of Yablonski and his friend 
were accepted, and it was agreed that I had neither 
circulated forbidden literature nor had had any in my 
possession. Weeks passed away before these formalities 
were accomplished, and at last, nearly two months after 
my arrest, the magistrate informed me that he should 
close the affair in a few days, and that he himself was 
satisfied there were no grounds for my prosecution. The 
decision lay with the Public Prosecutor, 1 who might concur 

1 This term is the nearest English equivalent to the German Staatsanwalt, 
a functionary attached to every court of law. A corresponding official exists 
in Russia, with a colleague, the Public Advocate, who undertakes the defence 
of any prisoner unable or unwilling to employ a counsel of his own. — Trans. 

28 FREIBURG [chap. 

in this, and so release me at once ; or he might after 
all think fit to take the matter into court. In the latter 
event, however, the judge would most probably uphold 
the finding of the magistrate ; and even if against all 
expectation a prosecution should be set up and a penalty 
enforced, the sentence would be such as my term of im- 
prisonment here would be held to fulfil. In any case 
I might be certain my release was now only a question 
of days. It seemed absurd to distrust this forecast, and 
it is but natural to expect what one ardently desires ; 
so I began to feel easy. 

Some days after I was again sent for to the visitors' 
room, where I found Frau Axelrod and a grey-haired 
gentleman, the Public Prosecutor, Von Berg. In stern 
tones he informed us that we were at liberty to converse, 
but only in German ; at the first Russian word he would 
separate us. This precaution, and the whole behaviour 
of the grim old gentleman, did not quite bear out the 
idea of speedy release for me ; and knowing him to be 
acquainted with the magistrate's views, I wondered what 
his reasons were, but I was not apprehensive. Frau 
Axelrod and I did not find much to say to each other 
under this supervision, and our interview was brief. 

I remember the next few days very well. On the 
morrow the inspector, Roth, came and told me, in a most 
cheerful and friendly way, that I must change over into 
a cell on the ground-floor, as the one in which I was had 
to be renovated. He was quite apologetic, regretting that 
the other cell would not be so comfortable for me. This 
change did not please me at all. My plans of escape 
had all been based on the situation of my cell, and its 
being on the first floor would have been no impediment. 
One of my friends had hired a room in the opposite 
house, towards which the window of my cell looked, so 
that at a pinch we could communicate by prearranged 
signals. Besides these reasons of business, so to speak, 
on other grounds I was sorry to quit my now familiar 


quarters. My associations with these four walls were not 
all unpleasant, and looking out of the window had been 
my greatest distraction. On market days many lively 
scenes were enacted between buyers and sellers — peasants 
of the district. Sometimes military exercises took place 
in the square, and the unfamiliar drill interested me. But 
above all I loved to climb up to the window in the 
evenings to watch the children, who, when twilight came 
on, always romped about the square, playing all sorts 
of games. Their merry laughter and shouting took 
me back to my home in South Russia and my own 
childish days. 

All this came to an end with my change of lodging. 
My new cell was dark, less roomy, and the window looked 
into the yard. This latter circumstance made escape well- 
nigh impossible. I comforted myself with the thought 
that the idea of flight was needless, and tried to reckon 
how many days were likely to elapse before my release. 
I argued that my transfer to another cell was probably 
in view of my departure, or else a mere chance, necessary 
for the reason given me by the warder. But my friends 
took it quite otherwise when they saw me no more at 
the window, and thought I must be already on my way 
to Russia ! 



ON one of the following days I was told there was 
someone to see me. No sooner had I crossed the 
threshold of the visitors' room than a young lady threw 
herself, laughing and weeping, into my arms. It was 
Frau Buligin. As I was in prison under her husband's 
name, she had now come to play the part of my wife ; and 
so well did she play it as even to soften the heart of the 
Public Prosecutor, who witnessed this moving scene of 
meeting between such a young and loving pair. He left 
us alone for a moment, and only when the first emotional 
greetings were over did he warn us that we must speak 
German ; but his tone was less stern and dry than at my 
first encounter with him, when Frau Axelrod was there. 
Frau Buligin had at once whispered to me that I must 
somehow contrive that we should speak Russian, as she 
had important things to talk about. I therefore begged 
Herr von Berg to let us speak in our own language. 

" I cannot," he said shortly ; " you both seem able to 
speak German quite well enough to understand one 

" You must allow," said I, " that however well a man 
speaks a foreign tongue, when he meets his wife after 
weeks of imprisonment and in circumstances like mine, 
he wants to speak freely. We cannot talk of family 
affairs in German. But," I continued, " if you insist about 



this, though I cannot understand by what law nor for 
what reason, could you not let Professor Thun be present 
as he would understand all we said in Russian ? " 

After some further demur he at last relented so far as to 
say that though he would not request Professor Thun's 
attendance himself, not being in any way bound to do so, 
yet if the professor chose to do us such a favour, we might 
then be permitted to speak Russian. Of course I would 
not betray my relations with Professor Thun, so I care- 
fully inquired his address, that my wife might take him a 

" Your wife shall be given it in my office," said Herr 
von Berg. So he and Frau Buligin departed, and I was 
taken back to my cell. 

After a short interval I was sent for again, and found 
Professor Thun with the others. I had not seen him for 
some time, as he had been away for his Easter holidays ; 
besides, his official duties as translator had come to an end, 
and my case being now in the hands of the Public Prose- 
cutor, he had not the same freedom of access to me. 
Frau Buligin told me that she had hurried hither because 
of the great anxiety felt about me by my comrades. 
Russian spies were closely watching all my friends and 
acquaintances in Geneva ; showing my photograph (which 
of course strongly resembled that sent from Freiburg by 
the police), and asking where I was. From this my 
friends concluded that the Russian Government was 
already on my track ; they feared that if my imprison- 
ment lasted much longer my real identity would certainly 
be discovered, and they therefore begged me to try and 
effect my escape. We talked over every chance, and tried 
to work out a plan, Professor Thun taking the warmest 
interest, and making many suggestions. But, as I said 
before, absolutely no plans were feasible from the cell 
I was in now ; and I will not trouble to describe those we 
discussed, except to repeat that Professor Thun played an 
important part in them all, even undertaking to provide 

32 FREIBURG [chap. 

me with a key to the outer door of the prison. The 
personal risk he was willing to accept, or even court, was 
great ; yet this was the man who had at one time avowed 
his desire of handing me over to Russian justice ! After 
eighteen years it is scarcely comprehensible to me, spite 
of my lively recollection of his kindness and sympathy. 

The Public Prosecutor, Von Berg, who remained in the 
room during all this confabulation, played rather a comical 
part. Of course, he understood not a word, as we spoke 
Russian ; but whenever we laughed he smiled indulgently, 
as if amused at us. I cannot imagine what would have 
been the feelings of this painfully correct and stern old 
gentleman if he had known the chief cause of our merri- 
ment, which was simply that we had to concoct the report 
of our conversation with which Professor Thun was sub- 
sequently to regale his worship. 

When we had finished our consultations, which lasted 
rather a long time, Frau Buligin took a very tender fare- 
well of me. She thanked Von Berg for having allowed us 
to speak Russian, and asked him how soon he thought 
I should be released. I think he told her that he believed 
the case would be concluded in a few days, mentioning 
the date. In any case, he added, if I were set free I 
should be handed over to the police to be conducted over 
whatever frontier was convenient — the Swiss, he supposed, 
being the nearest. 

I held fast to the hope that it really would be so, and f 
tried to stifle the doubts that persisted in rising. It was 
certainly pleasanter to dream of prospective freedom, than 
to brood over the consequences of extradition to Russia, 
or even of being set over the Russian border. The sight 
of Frau Buligin had aroused keen longings for liberty ; 
fancy painted joyful pictures, my thoughts dwelt on my 
friends and my work. Mentally I lived through many 
scenes of welcome, and saw our circle setting to work with 
redoubled energy at our " League for the Emancipation 
of Labour." I planned out to the smallest detail how I 


would make up for my enforced idleness. I lived only in 
the future, and looked on the dreary present as if it were 
a long-vanished past, a disagreeable episode that I and 
mine could talk over as far behind us. 

" To-day the order for my release will be made out." 
I remember how I awoke on a certain May morning 
with this thought in my mind, and instantly began to 
conjecture in what manner the announcement would be 
made to me. 

" You are to go to the Public Prosecutor," said the 
warder, breaking in on my visions. 

" It is for my formal discharge," was my first thought ; 
" the man is keeping his word. Strange that the judge has 
been so quick in pronouncing his decision ; it is still quite 
early," I meditated, as I went along the corridor. 

In the office sat Herr von Berg at a table; beside him 
was a young clerk, and the table was covered with bundles 
of documents. 

" To-day, as you are aware," said the Public Prosecutor, 
turning to me, "judgment was to be given on your case. 
Before I inform you of the verdict, I must again have 
your assurance that your name is Buligin, and your home 

" Certainly. I am Buligin, of Moscow," I answered. 

" Read the document relating to that point," said the 
Public Prosecutor to the clerk. The latter read aloud 
in dry, business-like tones a communication, apparently 
emanating from some Moscow official, stating curtly that 
there was no person of the name of Buligin answering 
to the description given. 1 

" What have you to say to this ? " asked Herr von Berg 

I felt that the blood had left my cheeks, and that my 
knees were trembling ; but I pulled myself together at 

1 This was true. The passport was forged, and my comrade who travelled 
with it bore another name in Russia. 

34 FREIBURG [chap. 

once, and began to defend myself, speaking rapidly, warmly, 
and earnestly. 

I saw my critical situation, and felt the ground slipping 
from under my feet. My fear of communications with 
the Russian Government was justified, and it was now 
a fight for life. I had so often dreaded this eventuality, 
that my plan of defence was prepared. 

" Listen ! n I cried. " I declare to you that I am Buligin ; 
but I confess that I do not come from Moscow, and that 
the other particulars I gave you about myself were false. 
This amount of deception was forced upon me, foreseeing 
as I did the course that might be taken by the authorities 
here, and knowing too well what Russian methods are. 
You do not know those methods, and I must explain. 
It often happens that people are denounced to the gen- 
darmerie for having a prohibited book in their possession. 
Not only are they themselves arrested, but everyone who 
has consorted with them is liable to arrest, and anyone 
whose address is found in their rooms. Their houses are 
watched, and everyone who visits them is seized. Whole 
families are persecuted in this way, and think themselves 
lucky if they get off at last after untold annoyance. 
Quite innocent people are often in prison for months. 
When I came from democratic Switzerland to con- 
stitutional Germany, with no intention of contravening 
German law, little did I expect to meet with an ex- 
perience which shows me that, at any rate as regards 
foreigners, there is not much to choose between Germany 
and Russia in some of their dealings. I find to my cost 
that without any legal formalities the police may arrest 
and imprison whom they choose ; that they can make 
a domiciliary search without a warrant, and may treat 
a harmless traveller as if he were a criminal. I was kept 
in gaol for two days without being brought before a 
magistrate ; I saw a young lady seized in the street and 
brought to the prison, just as if in Russia. What ground 
had I for trusting the magistrate's assurance that there 


would only be an ordinary judicial inquiry? I took it for 
granted that the police, as with us in Russia, could over- 
ride the administrators of the law, and that the police 
would be in correspondence with the Russian authorities. 
This document proves that I was right. 

11 Well, then, if I had given the true facts about myself, 
the police, as is evident, would have handed them on to 
their Russian confreres, who, of course, when they heard 
I had been arrested here because I had two boxes of 
books forbidden in Russia, (though not in Germany,) 
would have started their usual game in the town whence 
I really come. My people would have been subjected 
to annoyance ; my brothers and sisters, who share my 
views, would perhaps have been found possessed of 
forbidden literature, and clapped into gaol along with 
many others. Russia is not a constitutional country, and 
therefore I was obliged to guard myself by suppressing 
particulars here that might have been used against my 
friends there." 

" You assert, then," said the Public Prosecutor scornfully, 
" that you are Buligin, but that you do not come from 
Moscow ; and you refuse to give the name of your native 
place ? " 

" Yes, I refuse for the reasons I have stated." 

" Read the next report," said Herr von Berg, and the 
clerk read aloud : — 

" The prisoner now in the State prison of Freiburg, 
calling himself Buligin, is in reality Leo Deutsch, who in 
May, 1876, attempted — in conjunction with Jakob 
Stefanovitch — to murder Nicholas Gorinovitch. There- 
fore the Government of His Majesty the Emperor of 
Russia, through their representative in the dominions 
of His Highness the Grand Duke of Baden, demand the 
extradition of both the aforesaid persons. And at the 
same time His Majesty's Government consider themselves 
bound to draw the attention of the German authorities to 
the fact that the aforesaid Leo Deutsch has several times 

Зб Г FREIBURG [chap. 

already broken out of prison, and should therefore be 
most jealously watched, both during his incarceration and 
while being transported to Russia." 

I have transcribed this document almost literally, for 
though nearly two decades have passed since that 
moment, it seems present to me this day. " It's all up 
with me," I thought, and torturing visions rose before me. 

" What reply have you to make ? " I heard the dry 
question of the Public Prosecutor, and saw his malicious 
smile of triumph. 

With a tremendous effort I collected myself. 

" What I have just heard read," I said as calmly as I 
could, " scarcely surprises me. It bears out all I have 
been told as to the methods of the Russian Government. 
Their game is clear. When they want to get hold of a 
harmless Russian Socialist who has been arrested in a 
constitutional country they will not allow that he is the 
person he claims to be, but give him the name of someone 
implicated in a serious crime. This is nothing new. For 
example, Rumania was induced in this way to deliver up 
a certain Katz, who was then immediately exiled to 
Siberia by ' administrative methods/ as is said in Russia, 
that is, without any judicial process. Evidently they are 
doing just the same in my case. The best proof of this 
lies in this document itself. You see there that the 
Government not only demands the extradition of Deutsch, 
but also of Stefanovitch, although the latter was long ago 
arrested in Russia and sent to penal servitude in the 
Siberian mines, and although his complicity in the attempt 
against Gorinovitch never came into question at his trial. 
It is plain that the extradition of Stefanovitch is asked 
for in order that on the next opportunity some peaceful 
Socialist may be claimed as being he. What I am telling 
you would be confirmed by Professor Thun, who not only 
is acquainted with Russian ways, but has particularly 
studied our revolutionary movement." 

This ended the interview. When I was back in my cell, 

iv] A LAST HOPE 37 

and could collect my thoughts, I felt completely crushed. 
My extradition seemed certain, and escape my only hope. 
But that this hope was futile I quickly discovered. 
Following the Russian Government's warning as to my 
having often broken out of prison before (as a matter 
of fact I had done so twice), 1 a special warder was now 
posted at my door, with instructions not to stir from the 
spot, and to watch my every movement. The other 
warders also were told to keep an eye on me, and — what 
had never happened before — the chief inspector, Roth, 
had been present at the interview described above. 

Soon after midday I was again taken before the Public 
Prosecutor. This time he seemed more graciously in- 
clined, and treated me with as near an approach to 
geniality as could be expected from such an arid man 
of law. He informed me that Professor Thun had en- 
dorsed my description of Russian judicial proceedings ; 
and he then continued, " It is possible that an injustice is 
being done you in ascribing to you the crime spoken of in 
the communication of the Russian Government, and I am 
prepared to assist you in defending yourself. You must 
understand that in Germany it is no part of a Public 
Prosecutor's duties to pass sentence, but he has to get at 
the truth, and to discharge persons who are unjustly 
accused. Give me any particulars that would tend to 
exonerate you, and I will do what I can for you." 

This change in the behaviour of the Public Prosecutor 
was evidently owing to Professor Thun's influence. I 
knew quite well that there was not much left to hope for 
now, but I saw I should try to make use of Herr von 
Berg's more favourable attitude to gain a little time. If 
my extradition could be delayed I might yet find some 
opportunity of escape. So I gratefully accepted the 
Public Prosecutor's offer, and begged him to let me have 
an opportunity of consultation with my lawyer and the 
official translator, as I myself had no acquaintance with 

1 See pp. 86 and 98, 

38 FREIBURG [chap. 

the forms of German law. Meanwhile, I said, I could 
tell him at once how I hoped to prove I was not Deutsch ; 
I had reason to believe that he was in London, and if my 
friends there could find him, he would no doubt be quite 
willing to give his testimony in my behalf. (I was hoping, 
with the help of Professor Thun, to arrange that one of 
the Russian refugees in London should play the part 
of Deutsch, i.e. of myself.) 

Herr von Berg informed me that the granting of this 
request lay with the Minister of Justice, to whom he 
would apply ; and with this our interview terminated. 

Events now took on a lively pace. Before this I had 
sometimes had weeks to wait between the acts of my 
drama, and had often longed for the next hearing, that I 
might at least know what was going on. Now, however, 
things went faster than I cared for. The next day I was 
again called before the Public Prosecutor. This time, with 
Herr von Berg, his clerk, and inspector Roth, who stood 
sentinel at the door, I found a man, strange to me, 
dressed in the uniform of a Russian officer of justice, with 
a glittering order in his buttonhole. 

" Good morning, Deutsch! Don't you know me ? " asked 
the unknown in Russian, with an agreeable smile. " I am 
the Deputy Public Prosecutor in the Petersburg Court of 
Appeal. My name is Bogdanovitch, and you must re- 
member me, for I was Deputy Public Prosecutor in Kiev 
when you were a prisoner there." 

" I have never been in prison at Kiev ; and I have not 
the pleasure of knowing you," I answered quietly. And 
indeed I had never set eyes on the gentleman before. 

" There is no doubt about it, he is Deutsch," said 
Bogdanovitch, turning to his German colleagues. 

"And I declare that I am not," said I. 

" We prefer to believe Herr von Bogdanovitch," said 
Herr von Berg. " You shall go back to Russia." 

"Then this is what you are doing," cried I, "you are 


giving the Russian Government another opportunity of 
banishing an innocent man to Siberia." 

" We never send innocent people to Siberia," said 
Bogdan6vitch promptly. 

" You not only send them to Siberia, but to the scaffold," 
I cried. " You say that you belonged to the staff of the 
Kiev law courts ; then you must have heard of the judicial 
murder of an innocent boy, the student Rozovsky, which 
took place there. Perhaps you were concerned in the case. 
He was hanged, in spite of the fact that the judge him- 
self allowed his only offence to lie in the possession of a 
proclamation, the authors of which he refused to name." 1 

" Rozovsky was not executed solely on that account," 
said Bogdanovitch, smiling at the Public Prosecutor, 
" but because he belonged to the Socialist part)-." 

" You see ! " I cried, turning to Herr von Berg, " in 
Germany members of the Socialist party sit in the 
Reichstag, and take part in your legislation ; but according 
to the views of a Russian law-officer, and of the Russian 
Government, mere suspicion of being a Socialist, let alone 
proof, is enough to send one to the gallows ! " 

The two gentlemen could not easily answer this, and 
on the German lawyer it seemed to make a distinct im- 
pression. I saw, however, that the self-important Herr 
von Berg found the presence of the Deputy Public 
Prosecutor from the Petersburg Appeal Courts rather 
imposing. From time to time his glance rested on the 
glittering order worn by the official ; in addressing the 
Russian his voice took on an affability hitherto strange to 
it ; and his painful efforts to pronounce the difficult name 
correctly were really comic. Apparently in order to show 
off his own importance and zeal to the stranger, he 
remarked to me severely — 

11 1 see that you are not backward in finding excuses, 
and for this reason are trying to paint the Government 
of your country in the most lurid colours. But whatever 

1 Rozovsky was executed early in the year 1880. 

4o FREIBURG [chap. 

you may think of it, it is to that Government you must be 
surrendered, and I am convinced you will be treated in 
Russia with all legal equity." 

" Oh, certainly, certainly! " Bogdan6vitch hastened to 
assure him. 

I was led back to my cell, and what I suffered in mind 
during the next few days I need not describe ; the reader 
can well imagine it. It was clear to me that all hope of 
release was gone ; yet I could not resign myself to the 
thought, and my brain was always busy with plans of 
rescue. I counted on the time that must necessarily be 
absorbed in making out the terms of my extradition, and 
concocted a long letter of conspiracy to my friends, hoping 
to forward it through Professor Thun. Two or three days 
went by before I could get it finished ; and meanwhile I 
was again called before the Public Prosecutor, although 
the day was Sunday. Evidently things were being 
hurried on. 

" The Government have decided to deliver you up to 
Russia," he began, " but on this condition : that you shall 
be brought before a regular tribunal, and only prosecuted 
on the count of the Gorinovitch case. 1 Your request 
for an interview with your lawyer and the interpreter is 

After he had read me the decision of the Baden Govern- 
ment, Herr von Berg informed me that I was to start for 
Russia that very day. As I left him I remarked that 
I should certainly be sent before a special court and 
judged by martial law. 

" That is quite impossible," was his rejoinder ; " it would 
be a contravention of the treaty and contrary to inter- 
national law." 

Once alone in my cell, I began preparations for my 

1 The object of the treaty was to ensure the trial of the case in the ordinary 
criminal courts. The Russian Government's practice, in dealing with 
"politicals," was to subject them to martial law, and so obtain heavier 
sentences ; e.g. capital punishment, which is not inflicted at all under the 
Russian civil code, — Trans, 


journey. These were not so simple as might be supposed. 
Notwithstanding the excessive care with which everything 
sent me by my friends was inspected, I had become 
possessed of an English file for cutting through iron 
gratings, a pair of scissors to cut my hair and beard in 
case of need, and also money in German and Russian 
banknotes. I had to dispose of these things somehow. 
The file I decided to part with, as it was now hardly likely 
to be of any use, and would be hard to conceal; so I broke 
it in two and threw it down the waste-pipe of the closet. 
The other things I managed to secrete in such a manner 
that I should be able to avail myself of them if I had 
occasion on the journey. The warder at the cell-door 
never let me out of his sight ; yet I managed to hide them 
in my clothes so that there was a chance of their escaping 
the searchers. All this was like the drowning man's clutch 
at a straw. I did not deceive myself as to the strict 
watch to which I should be subjected, and the futility 
of any hope of speedy rescue. But in such circumstances 
even useless precautions serve at least to distract one's 
thoughts, and my thoughts were not of the pleasantest. 
I knew what was before me, and pictured my future. 
Long, long years of prison ! It was almost more bearable 
to think of death than of that living grave. 

" Of what use would my life be ? " I asked myself ; and 
the answer was devoid of consolation. 




WHEN evening came I was sent off in a closed 
carriage, accompanied by two policemen in plain 
clothes, who had been enjoined to use all possible vigilance. 
The carriage was stopped at a branch of the railway line 
some distance from the station, and here my companions 
and I were put into an ordinary cattle-truck. As this 
truck was brought into the station, where it was attached 
to a passenger train, I observed an unusual commotion on 
the platform, and my guards, who noticed it too, whispered 
together excitedly. From chance words that I caught 
I gathered that an arrest was being made, and wondered 
if it could have anything to do with me. Years afterwards 
I learned that it was indeed two of my comrades who were 
seized on the platform at Freiburg, they having hoped 
to travel by my train and be at hand to assist me if I could 
attempt an escape. But this was another fiasco. My two 
friends were kept some days in prison in Freiburg, and 
then sent back to Switzerland. 

Towards morning we arrived at Frankfurt-am-Main, 
where for some reason or other I was again put in prison. 
The governor of this gaol made a great show of kindness 
and consideration towards me, but had his own reasons 
for such tactics, as will subsequently appear. When I asked 
if I might write a post card to my friends in Switzerland, 
he assured me most obligingly that it should be forwarded 



at once, and furnished me with writing materials. (Later 
I found that he had handed over the card to my guards, 
who sent it to the Russian authorities ; but, of course, it 
only contained a few words of greeting.) 

The cell to which he conducted me was very comfort- 
able, and looked out on a lively street ; but he posted two 
policemen in the room to keep watch over me. He then 
provided me with an excellent luncheon — or at least it 
seemed very good to me, as during the last day or two ex- 
citement had kept me from eating. Seeing that the journey 
threatened to be tedious, I wanted to get some books, and 
the obliging governor offered to buy them for me at a 
second-hand shop, where they would be cheap. I remem- 
ber choosing a few German and French classics, which he 
procured for me at what I thought a reasonable price. 
Finally, he invited me to go for a walk in the yard 
with him. 

As soon as we were alone he began giving me a very 
prolix account of all his experiences, and then suddenly 
asked me point-blank if I were not really the famous 
Degaiev. 1 

I could not help laughing heartily : the assiduous friend- 
liness of this worthy, who, as a matter of fact, was always 
looking out for his own advancement, appeared now in 

1 Degaiev, a captain of artillery, was a prominent member of the " Narod- 
naia Volya." Arrested and imprisoned in the beginning of 1880, he soon 
turned informer, and betrayed many of his former comrades. By this he not 
only gained his liberty, but also won the confidence of the notorious perse- 
cutor of revolutionists, Colonel Soudyehkin, commander of the Petersburg 
Ochrana (a body of secret police). Pangs о conscience, or fear of the 
vengeance of the revolutionists, caused him to make a full confession to them 
in 1883, and as amends for his treachery he offered to stand by them in an 
attempt to assassinate Soudyehkin. The latter was difficult to entrap, being 
extraordinarily clever and wary ; owing to which qualities he had done more 
harm to the revolutionists than anybody else. Degaiev's proposal was 
accepted ; and in the winter of 1883 he managed to decoy Soudyehkin, under 
pretext of important business, into his house, where two revolutionists were 
lying in wait, and shot Soudyehkin down. They were both caught, con- 
demned to penal servitude for life, and imprisoned in the Schliisselburg 
fortress. Degaiev escaped to foreign parts, and afterwards disappeared, 


quite a new light. Apart from the fact that (as I heard 
afterwards from the policemen in my cell) he drew a 
considerable profit, not only from my food, but even on 
the books he got me, he also had his eye on the reward 
he would receive if he could induce me to confess to 
being Degaiev. The Russian Government had put a price 
of 10,000 roubles on that man's head, and his name was in 
every European newspaper. 

I stayed in this prison until nightfall, when I was 
fetched away by three policemen in plain clothes. Every 
time that my guards were changed I was searched, but 
nothing was found. Before starting on our journey, the 
Frankfort police put chains on me, not heavy or thick, 
and quite inconspicuous, as they were attached under my 
clothes ; but they hindered any quick movement, and of 
course made running impossible. I protested vehemently 
against this indignity ; but they declared they had re- 
ceived special instructions, and had no choice in the 
matter, so I had to submit. Even this was not their final 
precaution. When we passed on to the railway platform, 
one man, a giant in stature, took me by the arm in a 
friendly way ; another went a few steps in front, and the 
third came a little behind, so that we must have appeared 
to the uninitiated like a trio of boon companions. We 
installed ourselves in a carriage among the ordinary 
travellers, and it probably never dawned on any of them 
that they were sitting cheek by jowl with a fettered 
prisoner. I could not help thinking of the proverb used 
by our Russian peasants to describe German ingenuity : — 
" The Germans are too clever for anything ; they've even 
invented apes ! " I must say that my guardians behaved 
very civilly to me, although with formal strictness. So far 
as their orders permitted, they showed me many little 
kindnesses. In the Begleitschein with which I was given 
into their custody I was entered as " the so-called Buligin," 
and by this name I went until I was handed over to the 

v] BERLIN 45 

There was no thinking of escape on this journey. My 
escort never let me out of their sight for a second, never 
stirred from my side, and watched my slightest movements. 
They did not enter into conversation with me, nor had I 
any inclination to gossip with them. I felt heavy at heart, 
enervated, and exhausted. My mind seemed dormant, 
nothing attracted my attention during the whole journey ; 
I seemed to hear and see nothing that went on around 
me, but to lie wrapped in a dreary apathy. " What must 
be must be," I said to myself, if a thought of the future 
arose. Reaction had set in after the painful excitement of 
the last days in Freiburg. 

The following day we arrived in Berlin, where I was 
at once taken to prison. Which prison it was I do not 
know, but I remember what a gloomy impression it pro- 
duced upon me. The dark cell, (into which no direct light 
could penetrate owing to the high wall opposite the 
window,) and the sour-faced warders, who never seemed to 
look one straight in the eyes, forced on me the thought that 
people who were compelled to inhabit this place for long 
were much to be pitied. I have made acquaintance with 
many prisons, both in Russia and Western Europe, but 
never felt so thoroughly despondent as in this Berlin gaol. 
Everything seemed intended to make one feel : " You are 
in Berlin, the capital of military Prussia, where inflexible 
rule and iron discipline are the watchwords applying to the 
smallest detail." 

The policemen who had brought me from Frankfort 
never left me alone even in my prison cell, keeping watch 
over me by turns. And I must say that I was glad of 
this. Their company was not exactly enlivening, but 
the presence of another human being mitigated the 
dreariness of the prison atmosphere. Fortunately I was 
not detained here long, and I was truly thankful when 
evening came, and I was once more on my travels, 
attended by the same escort. Next morning we were 
in Russia. 


The frontier station where I was to be delivered over to 
the Russian authorities is called Granitza, a place where 
three empires meet — Germany, Austria, and Russia. As 
I was to be taken straight on to Petersburg, this was a very 
roundabout way to have come, and I suppose it must have 
been chosen from fear of a rescue being attempted at the 
frontier. This is the more likely, as shortly before the 
Polish Socialist, Stanislas Mendelssohn, had — aided by his 
friends — escaped from the Prussian police at another 
frontier station (Alexandrovo, I think), just as his surren- 
der to the Russians was to be effected. He got safe 
through to Switzerland. 

I remember my sensations well. It was a lovely May 
morning, and the sunshine gave me renewed strength. 
I had scarcely descended from the train with my German 
guards, when I was surrounded by a crowd of Russian 
gendarmes. • 

" Good morning, Deutsch ! good morning, sir ! Here 
you are at last ! We have been expecting you for ever so 
long ! ' were their greetings. I saw round me the fresh, 
smiling faces of young Russian peasant lads, surmounting 
the hated dark blue uniform. Their free, familiar bearing 
made me smile back at them as if old friends were wel- 
coming me. 

" How do you know me ? ' I asked them, as we went 
towards the gendarmes' quarters. 

" Oh, of course we know you ; we've heard such a lot 
about you ! " cried several. " Will you come and have 
some tea at once, or brush the dust off first ? " they asked, 
and vied with each other in doing the agreeable and 
making me at home. It was a curious contrast to the 
manners of my German guards. The Russians were frank 
and simple ; there was something of even friendly confi- 
dence in their behaviour. To the German police I was 
a dangerous criminal, who went about under false names. 
They had their orders, and followed them rigidly, not 
troubling themselves with anything beyond that, hoping 


thereby to gain a reward (as I gathered from their whis- 
pered talk when they supposed me asleep). To the 
Russian gendarmes, 1 who never have anything to do with 
common criminals, I was a " political offender," a " State 
prisoner " (as we call it), whose name they had heard so 
often that they looked on me quite as an old acquaintance 
I had not been in Russia for four years, and the first 
persons I met from whom I heard my mother tongue were 
gendarmes. The reader will be able to understand my 
mingled feelings. Any uninitiated person glancing into 
the room where I sat before the steaming samovar, refresh- 
ing myself with tea, and gossiping with the gendarmes 
standing round, might have thought we were a party 
of old friends enjoying a cosy chat. 

" Well, what's it like in foreign parts ? — not so nice as 
here, eh ? " asked the lads ; and I related how in " foreign 
parts" it was ever so much nicer than at home, in many 
ways. But that they would not allow to be possible, and 
we disputed about it, till at last everyone present, ten 
or twelve men, were all talking at once. When this topic 
was exhausted I asked what was the news at home, what 
was happening? They then described excitedly how all 
Russia had just been celebrating the majority of the heir- 
apparent, the present Tsar. 

The German police having fulfilled their commission 
and handed me over with bag and baggage, had departed, 
probably somewhat disappointed, for no reward had been 
given them — in Granitza, at least. After some hours an 
officer of the gendarmerie appeared, and commanded 
some of the men to be ready to escort me, as I was to 
go on by the next train. I saw that he gave over to one 
of them the money that had been taken from me by the 
German police. Unobserved, I immediately drew out the 
Russian money I had concealed about me, and then 
handed it to the officer, for I feared it might be dis- 
covered if I were carefully searched. He was greatly 

1 See preface. — Trans. 


surprised, and asked if I had never been searched in 
Germany. He then ordered me to be searched again, 
which was done with every care ; but all the same, the 
rest of my German money and the scissors were not 

Three gendarmes accompanied me on the journey to 
Petersburg. In Warsaw, where we arrived during the 
night, a colonel of gendarmerie was awaiting me. Like 
most of his kind, he was very polite and ready to 

" You were concerned in the Tchigirin case ? " he began ; 
and when I assented, he continued confidentially, " Ah, 
that was a long while ago. Wasn't it at the time of the 
Polish rising? Well, then, you will have the benefit of 
the coronation amnesty ; they won't have much against 

At the time of the Polish insurrection, in 1863, I was 
only eight years old. This is an illustration of how much 
many of the officers of gendarmerie know about the 
political trials which are supposed to be their own special 
business. This friendly sympathy did not prevent him, 
of course, from giving my escort the strictest orders about 
my treatment, as I could hear when seated in the carriage. 
" Be sure you don't fall asleep ! " he whispered. The 
gendarmes, however, did not allow this to trouble their 
minds much, but continued to treat me in a very easy- 
going fashion, and did not manifest any fear of my 
running away. 

When we arrived in Petersburg a captain of gendarmerie 
met us, and took me at once in a closed carriage to the 
Fortress of Peter and Paul. 

















A STRANGE feeling came over me when I saw that 
I was being conveyed to this prison, used by the 
Government of the Tsars for political offenders only ; a 
place never spoken of in Russia without a shudder. 
I approached it with dark forebodings, but these gave 
place to interest. I knew well that a cruel severity ruled 
in this place, but I could not help being curious to ex- 
perience it personally. The reality fully answered to my 

I was taken at once to a room where the governor 
of the prison, Colonel Lesnik of the gendarmerie, ordered 
me to strip to the skin. A couple of gendarmes examined 
me carefully, and then gave me, instead of my own clothes, 
prison under-linen, a striped cotton gown, such as is worn 
in hospitals, and a pair of slippers. My own clothes and 
other things were taken away. I was then shut up in 
a cell on the ground floor. 

Everything goes on here in utter silence ; not a word 
is heard, the stillness is intense. No one could imagine 
that men lived here year after year ; it felt like a house 
of the dead. Only the chimes of the clock broke upon 
the ear, sounding out every quarter of an hour the national 
hymn, " How glorious is our Lord in Zion ! " 

The cell was large, but dark, as the window was high 
up in the wall. It was cold, despite the May weather, 
e 49 


for the sunshine never entered here, and the walls were 
damp. Besides the iron bedstead with its straw mattress, 
pillow, and thin woollen covering, there were an iron table 
and a stool, both chained to the wall, and the customary 
evil-smelling tub. Even at three o'clock in the afternoon 
darkness reigned, although at this season Petersburg 
enjoys its " bright nights," when it never gets really dark. 
Reading was not to be thought of. Above everything 
I was sensible of the extreme cold, partly due to the 
situation of the cell, but chiefly to the insufficiency of 
my clothing. To warm myself I marched up and down 
from one corner to the other till I was tired ; but hardly 
had I sat down a minute than I began to freeze again 
all over. Even in bed I felt the same penetrating cold, for 
the blanket was very thin. 

My rations consisted of about two pounds of black 
bread, and for dinner at midday two dishes, which were 
not bad, but insufficient in quantity — always half cold, 
moreover, as all the food had to be brought a long way. 
As an unconvicted prisoner I could have provided myself 
with better accommodation at my own expense ; but 
that was impossible at first, because the gendarmes who 
brought me had given over my luggage and my money 
to the officer of gendarmerie, and he had delivered it to 
the Central Department of the State Police. The worst 
of this was that it meant the loss of my spectacles, and 
therefore I could not read, another privilege to which 
I had a right, as an unconvicted prisoner. This made 
the days, and the nights too, seem interminable. I did 
everything I could think of to occupy myself. I tried 
arithmetical problems, of course in my head, for writing 
materials were not allowed ; I related my own history 
as an exercise of memory ; and at last I hit on the plan 
of " publishing " a newspaper. When I had got through 
washing and dressing in the morning, I ate a piece of 
bread, and then " read my paper." First came a leading 
article on some question of the day, then the summary 

vi] KNOCKING - 51 

of news, gossip of the town, notes, etc. After some 
days, of course, my "copy" began to run short, and the 
contents of my journal became very uninteresting. The 
reading of it could not occupy the whole day, and 1 was 
often, too, kept awake at night by the cold ; so I filled 
in my time by running up and down, up and down, like 
a beast in its cage. 

Outdoor exercise brought little relief from the eternal 
solitude ; it was only taken every other day, and lasted 
a very short while. The time allowed was but a quarter 
of an hour, including dressing and undressing, my own 
clothes being brought to me for these occasions. My 
walks took place in a yard enclosed with high walls, where 
no one was to be seen but gendarmes and sentries. The 
slightest attempt to converse with them was forbidden, or 
even that they should answer the simplest question. If 
one asked anything they stared straight in one's face and 
were dumb. 

After some days, however, an occupation provided 
itself; I became aware of a gentle knocking, perceptible 
at a slight distance from the wall. When I was in prison 
before I had learned to use this means of communication 
with my fellow-captives, and the alphabetical code at once 
came back to me. 1 

It is difficult to describe my joy when I heard the 
familiar sounds, and supposed they must be addressed to 
myself, but I was soon undeceived. I began to knock back, 

1 The letters of the alphabet being arranged in certain groups, e.g. : — 

a b с (1 e f 

g h i к 1 m 

D О p Г S t 

u v w x у z, 

words are made up by knocking so many times on the wall for each letter. 
First the horizontal line in which the letter stands is counted, and then its 
number in the line. For example, to make the word "you" one would 
knock as follows : four taps, a short pause, five taps, a longer pause ; three 
taps, a short pause, two taps, longer pause : four taps, short pause, one tap. 
The taps are not only heard in the neighbouring cell, but sometimes in 
lar-distant ones if they have a common wall. 


but found out at once that the signals were not meant for 
me ; two friends were having a conversation, and they 
would not answer my attempts to introduce myself. This 
knocking was strictly forbidden, and they hesitated to 
admit an unknown person to their company, fearing to be 
entrapped, and deprived of farther intercourse. I was 
obliged to content myself with making out what these two 
said to each other in their short conversations, but it was 
only stereotyped, often-recurring phrases : " Good morn- 
ing," " How have you slept ? " " What are you doing ? " 
and the answers : " Well," " Drinking tea," etc. I envied 
them the exchange of such insignificant speeches. I never 
discovered whether they were two men or two women, or 
a man and a woman. 

I do not know how long it was before I underwent my 
first examination, it must have been about eight 6r ten 
days. Until then, from the first moment I arrived in Russia, 
I had not officially been even asked my name. Like a box 
or parcel coming from abroad, I had been passed on from 
hand to hand with my official form of consignment, no 
one caring to learn who I was. The gendarmes appeared 
to know that I had taken the name of Buligin, being 
in reality Deutsch ; but they had no idea with what I was 
charged, and did not seem interested to find out. Besides, 
in the Fortress of Peter and Paul names were not necessary 
— were even useless — for one was never spoken to, inter- 
course was carried on by gestures only. 

One morning my clothes were brought me, as I supposed 
for the customary walk, but I was led into a room where 
at a table covered with a blue cloth sat three men dressed 
like functionaries of the law. I was given a chair, and 
one of them informed me he was the examining magis- 
trate " in specially grave cases " at the Petersburg law 
courts. His own name was Olshaninov, and he introduced 
one of his companions as the Public Prosecutor, Moura- 
viev j 1 the name of the third he did not tell me. 

1 The present Minister of Justice (1902). 


Then began the hearing of the case. To the usual 
questions concerning паяѵе, etc., I answered the truth. I 
knew I had nothing now either to lose or to gain. I told 
the whole story of the assault on Gorinovitch, of course 
not giving the name of any other person concerned, and 
not attempting to excuse myself in the least. I knew 
I could injure no one now by telling the whole affair, for 
all who were in any way connected with it had been 
sentenced five years back ; and as to myself, it could 
make no difference, for by the terms of the extradition 
treaty between Russia and Baden the conditions of my 
prosecution were strictly laid down. In the interests of 
historical accuracy I considered it right that this episode 
in our movement should be correctly described. 

During the hearing, which was conducted by the magis- 
trate, the official whose name had not been mentioned 
addressed several questions to me. I did not recognise 
him at first, but later it appeared that I had known him at 
Kiev, where — in 1877 — he took part in my trial. His 
name was Kotliarevsky ; he was then Deputy Public 
Prosecutor in Kiev, and now filled the same post at the 
Petersburg Appeal Courts, where he had to conduct the 
political cases in particular. It will thus be seen that this 
was the real owner of the position which Bogdanovitch 
had falsely claimed when pretending to identify me at 
Freiburg. Although Kotliarevsky was in very bad odour 
with the revolutionists, and had been shot at by Ossinsky 
in 1878, I was in a way glad to meet him in this gloomy 
place, for, at any rate, his face was a familiar one. And 
he behaved in a very friendly way to me. We were soon 
deep in conversation, recounting our respective experiences 
since we had last met. That we might not disturb the 
magistrate, who was making out the protocol, we sat a 
little apart, and chatted quite comfortably. Kotliarevsky 
remarked that I had altered very much ; " and not only 
in outward appearance, I mean," he said, "your whole 
character seems to me changed." That might well be. 


Kotliarevsky was noted for keen observation, and this 
faculty was very useful to him hi his peculiar sphere. 

" Do you remember what a hot-headed young fellow 
you were? How you once nearly threw an ink-bottle at 
my head ? " 

I remembered the incident perfectly, and saw why he 
referred to it. When I was at Kiev I was in a high state 
of nervous excitability, and in consequence was often 
hasty and irritable. Partly because of this, and partly 
because I was a member of the " Buntari," in whose pro- 
gramme was included a continual warfare against all 
recognised authorities, Kotliarevsky and I once came to 
loggerheads. The point of dispute was the signing of a 
protocol, which I absolutely refused to do. In a towering 
passion I seized the ink-bottle, and was quite ready to 
hurl it at him had he persisted in trying to force me ; but 
he saw my intention, and keeping quite composed, called 
the warder and whispered something to him. Seeing the 
man hasten away, I thought he had gone for the guard to 
put me in confinement. Great was my surprise and joy, 
therefore, when after a few minutes the door opened, and 
my friend Stefanovitch 1 appeared on the threshold. It 
was a delight to us both, for although in the same prison, 
we had not hitherto been allowed to meet. 

"Will you kindly pacify your comrade?" said Kot- 
liarevsky, turning to Stefanovitch. " His nerves seem a 
little overstrained." 

I learned thus to appreciate the adroitness of this man, 
and thanked him now for his considerate treatment of me 
on that occasion, which seemed to gratify him. 

In the course of our conversation I expressed my 
surprise that although I had been surrendered by Germany 
as an ordinary criminal, only to be proceeded against as 
such, they had brought me to the Fortress of Peter and 
Paul, which everyone knows is. reserved for " politicals." 
" Neither do I understand," I added, " why I have been 

1 See pp. 15 and 98, note, p. 210, and portrait, p. 112. 


brought to Petersburg, when the deed for which I am to 
answer was committed in Odessa, and according to law 
the trial should take place there." 

Kotliarevsky gave me no answer on this point, but he 
promised to see about my being allowed to provide myself 
with more comforts from my own purse, and said he would 
speak to Plehve, 1 the chief of the Central Department of 
the State Police. 

Shortly after this Colonel Lesnik gave me a more 
comfortable cell on the first floor, and henceforward he 
treated me somewhat better. Two days later he told me 
that my money and luggage had arrived from the police 
department, so I could now purchase food and tobacco. 
I congratulated myself even more on getting my spectacles 
again ; but it seemed that for this I must have an order 
from the prison doctor, and he was sent to see me. He 
was an elderly man of between sixty and seventy, and had 
the rank of a general officer. He was well known to be 
of a very harsh and unpleasant disposition, and soon gave 
me a proof of his quality. He turned up my eyelids, 
fixed me with a forbidding glare, and declared off-hand 
that my eyes were perfectly normal and that I did not 
need glasses. In reality qualified oculists have diagnosed 
a rather unusual abnormality in my vision, and since my 
eighteenth year I have been obliged to use spectacles for 

This dictum of the prison doctor upset me cruelly; I 
felt so desperate that I could scarcely control myself, but 
was ready to weep and to curse. 

" I beg you to consider again, " I cried. " You are quite 
mistaken ; I really cannot read without glasses. Think 
what you are doing ; you are condemning me to a hideous 
torture, in robbing me of the only distraction allowed 

Nothing was of any avail ; the man remained immovable, 
repeating obstinately, "You do not need glasses," and 

1 The present Minister of the Interior. — Trans. 


therewith took his departure. I clenched my fists, a prey 
to impotent wrath, and nearly > broke down altogether. 
But what was I to do ? I had to bear it ; and it is hard 
to say what a man cannot put up with. But to this 
moment I cannot think of that doctor without my blood 
boiling. The only consolation left me was my cigarette, 
and it became a friend and comforter in my loneliness. 
To a captive smoking not merely gives pleasure, but takes 
from him the sense of utter desolation. 

The days passed on in miserable inactivity. Then one 
morning a sound fell upon my ears, someone was knocking 
again, and in my immediate neighbourhood, as it seemed. 
Was it for me ? I replied at once with the familiar signal. 
It was for me ; what joy ! Now I should know what 
comrades lay here, and should be able to exchange 
thoughts with a human being. 

" Who are you ? ' : "In what case are you concerned ? " 
were the questions I deciphered. I seized my comb, the 
only hard movable object to be found in my prison cell, 
and tapped the answer. My interlocutor expressed his 
surprise and asked, " How did you come here ? " To my 
question, " Who are you ? " the answer was " Kobiliansky." 
I was no less surprised to " meet " him here (if so one may 
express it). Wc had not previously known one another 
personally, but I knew that in 1880 he had been con- 
demned to penal servitude for life, on account of his 
participation in various terrorist affairs, and had long ago 
been deported to the Siberian mines on the Kara. How 
came he, then, to be in the Fortress of Peter and Paul ? I 
burned with impatience to learn his adventures, but he was 
just as anxious to hear mine, and I had to give way to him. 
Scarcely, however, had I told him as shortly as possible 
how I had been arrested in Germany and given up to 
Russia, when I was interrupted by a voice, " So you are 
knocking ? " 

I sprang up and looked round. Before me stood 
Colonel Lesnik, accompanied by some gendarmes. The 


door had been noiselessly opened ; I had been observed, 
and caught in the act ; there was no getting out of it. 

" I give you fair warning, if you attempt such a thing 
again, you will be put back on the ground-floor, and 
deprived of tobacco and of exercise." Thereupon he 
departed, and I felt like a naughty schoolboy, found out 
and disgraced. Moreover, I had to give up hope of 
learning why Kobiliansky had been brought back from 
Siberia. 1 

Shortly after this event, one day my clothes were 
brought to me at an unusual hour. I supposed there was 
going to be another hearing of my case ; but no, appar- 
ently I was to be taken right away. My luggage was 
brought, and the captain of the gendarmerie appeared, 
the same who had escorted me hither from the station. 

" Where are we going — to Odessa ? " The officer gave 
me no answer. 

" Evidently we are going to the station," I thought, 
when the captain and I were seated in a droschky. It 
was just the transition hour on a " bright night," when one 
hardly knows whether it is evening twilight or dawn. The 
weather was perfect, and I felt my spirits rise at the pros- 
pect of the journey to Odessa. But alas ! the carriage 
took another turning, it was not going to the station, and 
we were soon in the courtyard of a huge stone prison. It 
was the House of Detention for prisoners under examina- 

1 I learned the following particulars later. In May, 1882, some of the 
political prisoners at Kara escaped. They were soon recaptured, and 
horribly severe measures were then set on foot in their prison. It was 
resolved to send away the "most dangerous element." Thirteen men were 
chosen, on any kind of pretext, only four of them having been concerned in 
the escape, and they were all despatched to the Fortress of Peter and Paul, 
and afterwards to Schliisselburg, the special prison for politicals. There the 
harshest regime prevails, and no one who enters is ever set free again. 
Kobiliansky shared this fate, although he had not been one of those who had 
broken loose from prison. Nearly all these unhappy men met their death in 
Schliisselburg : among them Butzlnsky, Gehlis, I. Ivanov, Kobiliansky, 
Shturk6vsky, and Shtchedrin. Only one survives (1902) — Michael Popov. 




WHEN the officer of gendarmerie handed me over 
to the governor of the gaol, he pointed with his 
finger to a sentence in my charge-sheet, whereupon the 
governor looked at me sharply. It was clear his attention 
was being drawn to the warning of my former escapes, 
and the need for strict surveillance. 

I saw from the first that prison rules were less strict here. 
My belongings, after examination, were brought into my 
cell. As soon as I could look them over, I sought for the 
hidden money and scissors, and behold, there they were ! 
The careful scrutiny, both at the fortress and here, had 
been no more successful in detecting them than had pre- 
vious examinations. The scissors I again concealed ; but 
I wanted to change the German notes, so as to have at any 
rate part of my money available, and that was not a very 
simple matter. I began to observe the warders carefully ; 
there were three of them on my corridor. The man who 
had searched my luggage seemed to me the most promis- 
ing, and I determined to bribe him. When he came on 
duty I took the money out of its hiding-place, and called 
him into my cell. 

II What do you want ? и he asked, coming in and shutting 
the door behind him. 

" Did you search my luggage properly when I arrived 
here ? " 



" Yes, of course ; is anything wrong ? : he asked, quite 
alarmed. N 

" Oh, nothing much ! " I said soothingly. " Only, I had 
better tell you that you don't know how to search. Look 
here ! you never found these ! " and I held the bank-notes 
under his nose. 

M Impossible ! " he cried ; " where were they hidden ?" 

" Well, that is my secret," said I. " But listen ! It is 
German money, and if changed would come to about fifty 
roubles. 1 Take it, and when you are off duty go to a 
money-changer — there are several on the Nevsky Prospekt 
— and get it changed for Russian money. Half shall be 
yours, and half mine. Is that agreed ? " 

" All right. I'll see to it," he said, and went off with 
the money. 

" He bites," I thought to myself; and at once began 
building castles in the air. I knew from experience that 
the great thing was to establish communication with the 
outer world, and this we revolutionists had often effected 
by bribing warders to take letters into and out of prison. 
In Kiev and the south we called such warders " carrier- 
pigeons." When I saw how easily this one fell in with my 
proposal, I immediately began to plan out further steps. 

" After a few days," I said to myself, " we will try him 
with a letter for the post ; and next I shall send him 
to someone I know with a commission. When once 
things are in train, who knows ? something may come 
of it." 

It was in the morning that I had given the warder my 
money, and I was in great excitement all day. Several 
times he looked through the peephole in my door, smiled 
and nodded at me, and of course I replied in similar 
fashion. Towards evening he came into my cell again, 
and laid my notes down on the table. " Take them back," 
he said ; " I am afraid of getting into trouble. See here ; 
a little while ago one of the others had two watches given 

1 Nearly £$ 10s. — Trans. 


him, and they were found on him, and he was dismissed. 
You see, I've a good place here, and get twenty-five roubles 1 
a month. I shouldn't get so much again in a hurry. No, 
I'm afraid ; take it back ! " 

Of course I did not press him, for I knew that without 
courage he would never make a "carrier-pigeon." I saw 
no chance now of changing the notes secretly, so I told him 
to take them to the governor, that they might be added to 
the rest of my money. 

11 Tell him you found them in searching my luggage." 

" No, no, that won't do. There would be no end of a 
fuss because I hadn't given them up directly. I'd rather 
tell the truth, and say you had just given them to me." 

Thus did my visions end in smoke. The money was 
taken charge of, and no further inquiry made. 

Soon after this my books were brought to me, and I 
could also use the prison library. After being for so long 
prevented from reading, this was a great boon ; and as 
writing materials were also allowed me, I was altogether 
far better off here than in the Fortress of Peter and Paul. 
Still, the little cell with its stone floor became a perfect 
oven in the heat of summer, most unpleasantly stuffy and 
dusty ; and the food was inferior both in quantity and 
quality. But the walks were what was most disagreeable. 
Imagine a huge circle, divided into sections by partitions 
running from centre to circumference. In these cattle-pens 
we were allowed to disport ourselves singly, carefully 
watched all the while by warders stationed on a raised 
platform at the centre of the circle, commanding all the 
" cattle-pens " ; so that the prisoners had no chance of 
communicating with each other. One could see nothing 
but the wooden partitions, the back of the prison build- 
ings, and a narrow strip of sky ; but every day we had to 
breathe the air here for three-quarters of an hour, which 
seemed an endless time for such " recreation." 

In comparison with the uncanny stillness of the fortress, 

1 About £2 $s. — Trans. 


things here seemed full of life and bustle. The windows 
of the corridor looked intp the street, and its noises could 
be heard in the cells — the rumbling of carriages, the cries 
of street-hawkers, or the dulcet music of an organ-grinder. 
One felt so near freedom that the burden of prison life was 
the heavier. 

One day I heard unusually lively sounds in the corridor 
— scrubbing, sweeping, and a general tidying-up. Some 
important visit seemed to be expected, and I soon learned 
that the Minister of Justice, Nabokov, was coming to 
inspect the prison. Shortly after, he appeared in my cell, 
accompanied by a numerous suite ; and when my name 
was pronounced, he greeted me and said — 

" I have read your deposition, and was much pleased 
with its frankness. I hope you will speak out in the same 
way before the court." 

I replied that, as I have already said, it was my object 
to state the exact historical truth. 

He went, but came back again, and put one or two 
unimportant questions to me, looking, however, as though 
there were something else he would have liked to say. He 
bent forward a little in speaking, and held his hand to his 
ear. His whole bearing was simple and unaffected. 

Kotliarevsky was among the suite. He remained behind 
a moment, and told me he wanted to speak to me when 
the minister had gone. Some time after I was taken to 
him in a room that served as the prison schoolroom. 

" I am not here on business," said he, " but I should like 
to have a chat with you about old times." 

So we sat down on a school-form and talked. Following 
a remark of mine, Kotliarevsky touched on the question 
I had raised before as to the reason for my confinement in 
the Fortress of Peter and Paul. 

" Why, you see, there were very important interests 
of State to consider," he said. " It was like this : if you 
were brought before an ordinary tribunal and only prose- 
cuted on the Gorinovitch count, you might be merely 


condemned to seven or eight years in Siberia ; and that 
would not be agreeable in high quarters" He accented 
the last words. 

11 But they cannot try me otherwise," I cried. " Germany 
only extradited me on that stipulation." 

" Well, that remains to be seen," said he. " We are 
at present on very good terms with Bismarck, and he 
would not mind at all giving us this little proof of his 
friendship. Or, if necessary, it could easily be made out 
that you had committed some offence after your extradi- 
tion. Which reminds me— the Germans have sent us on 
all the notes that you made in Freiburg gaol." 

I was utterly astonished. I remembered that from sheer 
ennui I had now and then written down odds and ends 
of notes, plans, etc., while I was at Freiburg, but I could 
not conceive how those scraps could have come into the 
hands of the Russian Government, for I had destroyed all 
my manuscripts before leaving. I could only suppose that 
when I was out of my cell for exercise some single sheets 
might have been abstracted. Even then it seemed im- 
possible that they could afford any foundation for a fresh 
accusation sufficient to set aside the extradition treaty with 
Germany. But Kotliarevsky reassured me on that head. 

" Oh, never fear ! they would soon manage that. Nothing 
would be easier than to get Germany's consent, and then 
they would sentence you according to your deserts. 
People who have had far less against them than you — 
Malinka, Drebyasgin, Maidansky — have long ago been 
executed. And you — you broke out of prison just when 
you were at last to be brought up for judgment in the 
Gorinovitch case. Then for quite eight years you were 
engaged in conspiracies ; and then you were the instigator, 
along with Stefanovitch, of the Tchigirin affair, and so on, 
and so on. That all this should only let you in for a few 
years' hard labour did not at all suit the views of Govern- 
ment. So when you were extradited a special council was 
held in high circles. Of course, I was not there. I am 


not numbered among the elect ; but this is what I have 
been told. At first they were all unanimous in declaring 
that a modification of the extradition treaty must be 
arranged, so that you might be brought before a special 
tribunal. Then, as you can easily imagine, they would 
have made short work with you ! But one of these great 
personages had a qualm, and he urged, * Germany might 
fall in with our views. Well and good ! But is that really 
a good precedent? They have caught Deutsch for us 
now. To-morrow a still more important capture might be 
made in some other country, arid then it might be hard for 
us to get an extradition. The Press would make a 
hubbub ; they would say, Russia never respects treaties, 
and would point to the case of Deutsch as an example.' 
This consideration influenced the majority, and it was 
consequently resolved to proceed against you in the 
Gorinovitch case only. This is why you were put into 
the Fortress of Peter and Paul until a decision was 
arrived at." 

It is quite possible that Kotliarevsky betrayed this secret 
of state to me with the object of loosening my tongue ; but 
perhaps he really had no afterthought, and told tales out 
of school just for the joke of it. 

In the further course of our conversation he touched 
on many subjects, among others on political prosecutions 
in Russia. I remarked to him how often perfectly harm- 
less persons were condemned to fearful punishments. 

" What would you have ? " he replied. " When trees are 
felled there must be chips. As the ancient Romans said : 
1 Summum jus, summa injuria! Personally I do not 
approve of capital punishment at all. I say to myself 
that in a great state political offences are inevitable. With 
a population of many millions there must always be a few 
thousand malcontents, and, of course, examples must be 
made of any disturbers of the peace. But a strong 
Government ought to be able to render them innocuous 
without resorting to the death penalty." 


In pursuance of this theme, he then asked me, to all 
appearance casually, how many. Terrorists in my opinion 
there might be in Russia. I answered that I knew nothing 
at all about it, for I myself did not now belong to the 
Terrorists, but to the Social-Democratic party. 

" Oh yes," he said, " but as a ' friendly power ' you 
must be able to judge as to the strength of the terrorist 
organisation. I think myself their numbers must be very 
small now." 

In point of fact there were indeed very few active 
Terrorists left in Russia. I did not, however, wish to 
strengthen Kotliarevsky's opinion about the "friendly 
powers," so told him that according to my estimate 
there could be only a few thousand, not more. 

" How can you make that out? " he asked. " It is quite 
impossible ; I reckon at most some hundreds. They have 
been imprisoned in crowds just lately." 

I persisted in my opinion, and therewith we separated. 

At this time, i.e. in the summer of 1881, there were in 
this House of Detention a number of prisoners accused 
of different political offences. One of these so-called 
offences, on account of which numberless persons had 
been sent to prison in Petersburg, Moscow, and many 
smaller towns, or even in Siberia, was what Kotliarevsky 
called "the old clothes case." He gave me the following 
account of this highly important affair of state. In some 
domiciliary visit the police had found a note containing 
the names of persons who were assisting the political 
prisoners by providing them with clothes and other 
necessaries. Thereupon a number of these persons were 
arrested ; and he told me that an imposing case was 
being trumped up against this " secret society," under the 
name of the " Red Cross League of the Narbdnaia Vblya" 
(Of course, Kotliarevsky did not mind giving a sly hit 
at the gendarmerie, with whom the police officials have 
many little tiffs, each often putting a spoke in the other's 


A pretty conspiracy indeed — for providing prisoners 
with old clothes ! I shall c hereafter always allude to this 
case as the " old clothes affair," and hope to show by it 
some of the little peculiarities of " administrative methods' 1 
in Russia. These " administrative methods" are some- 
times extremely unpleasant for those treated by them. 
The gendarmerie can imprison people, and exile them 
to Siberia or the outlying provinces without trial, all by 
" administrative methods." 

Besides those implicated in the " old clothes affair," 
there were at this time in the gaol many prisoners involved 
in other cases, among them several well-known literary 
men — Protopopov, Krivenko, Stanyukovitch, and Erthel. 
The first-named was my neighbour, and we were soon 
knocking to one another, though not without some mis- 
understanding at the outset. Directly I told him my 
name he left off replying to my taps, I could not imagine 
why. Several days passed. I could hear him going up 
and down in his cell, could catch his voice when he spoke 
to the warder, but he left all my signals unanswered ; 
so concluding that he was afraid of being caught (though 
the officials of this prison did not seem to make much 
fuss over the knocking), I left off in despair. After 
a little, however, he began again. " Why do you hide 
your name from me ? " he asked. I replied that I had 
told him my name at the very beginning, and repeated it ; 
upon which he hastened to apologise : " I took you for 
a spy ; for I could not make out what you said, and 
thought you seemed to be knocking confusedly on purpose, 
so that I might not decipher the name." 

We now conversed together freely. Our names were 
well known to each other, and we had many common 
friends. Of course, we were very anxious to know one 
another by sight, and we accomplished this in the follow- 
ing manner. From the windows of our cells, which were 
on the fifth floor, we could see into the " cattle-pens " ; 
and though we were all supposed to take our exercise 


at the same time, we arranged together that each should 
manage to get out of it on different days, and that he 
who remained in his cell should recognise the other by 
a preconcerted signal. The next thing was to know one 
another's voice, and this also we succeeded in effecting. 
We knew that in this prison, u politicals," in the " Case 
of the 193," not only spoke together, but even conveyed 
small objects to one another, by means of the water-closet 
pipes. The sanitary system here was so arranged that 
on all the six storeys each pair of cells was in com- 
munication, not only with one another, but also with those 
immediately above and below. Thus twelve prisoners 
could arrange together that they should simultaneously 
let the water run, so making a space in the pipes that 
acted as a speaking-tube ; and if one spoke into the 
opening the voice could be heard perfectly in the con- 
nected cells, while the running water prevented any 
inconvenient odour. In this fashion we instituted a club 
of twelve members. 




DURING my imprisonment in the Petersburg House 
of Detention my spirits were altogether more cheer- 
ful than they had been since my first arrest. At Freiburg 
I had been in a chronic state of excitement and unrest, 
longing for the freedom that seemed so near. In the 
Fortress of Peter and Paul I had been downcast and 
despairing. Now I had reached a condition of equanimity 
and indifference. 

" Hard labour in the Siberian mines," I thought to my- 
self. " What does it matter whether it be for ten years or 
fifteen ? It is much the same to me." My future was done 
for, my life gone. It is hard for a man to reconcile himself 
to such a thought, particularly when he feels physically 
sound and healthy, but one does somehow get accustomed 
to it. At times there will arise sudden hopes, dreams of 
unexpected luck, of happiness in a distant future ; and 
then wild visions chase one another in dazzling pictures 
through one's brain. But I had lived through too many 
bitter self-deceptions of the kind when I was at Freiburg ; 
and I was only annoyed with myself when I found my 
fancy dallying with them, and tried to extinguish them at 
once. "Nonsense!" I cried to myself; rt if anything, the 
only unexpected turn Fate will do you will be some bad 
trick." And I steadfastly made up my mind to the worst. 



Weeks had gone by since my change of prisons, and 
during that time I had not been once up for examination. 
I did not know in the least how my affair was going. 
" Perhaps in c high circles ' they've taken a new departure, 
and invented some other means of treating me as a 
political criminal. Why am Г not brought before the 
court ? Why do they not send me to Odessa ? Some- 
thing must be happening." I had begun to fidget in 
this way occasionally, when one July morning, as I came 
back from my walk feeling rather cheerful, the warder said 
to me, " Make yourself ready ; they have come to fetch 
you ! " A hired droschky awaited me at the door, and 
I and a gendarme got into it. From him I could learn 
nothing as to our destination, and although this uncertainty 
did not last long, it made me feel uncomfortably nervous. 
After about half an hour the carriage stopped in the court- 
yard of a large building. I was taken into a small cell 
with a tiny window, whose panes were of thick ribbed 
glass. As I was pacing up and down here I noticed an 
officer at the peephole in the door observing me closely. 

" May I come in ? " he asked, hesitatingly opening the 
peephole window. 

" A strange question ! I am at your disposal, not you 
at mine," said I. The door opened, and smiling apolo- 
getically, a young man in the uniform of a colonel of 
gendarmerie stepped in. 

"Allow me to introduce myself" — he bowed and clicked 
his spurs together — "Colonel Ivanov." 

" I do not understand," said I. " Will you please tell 
me where I am, and why I have been brought here ? ' 

" This is the office of the gendarmerie headquarters;* you 
have been brought here for examination, and will soon be 
taken before the Public Prosecutor. I only wanted to 
have a chat with you, and revive some old memories. 
We have many common acquaintances." 

" But how do you know me ? " I asked, surprised. 

" Oh, excuse me," he cried, smiling, " there is hardly 


an intelligent person in all Russia who does not know you 
by name." <, 

The young gentleman appeared to class himself among 
the " intellectuals " — that set in Russian Society which 
just at this time was protesting against the reactionary 
tendency and making its influence felt in some of the best 
Russian journals. In the language of that section of 
the Press it was customary to designate the revolutionists 
by the harmless title of " intellectuals." 

" Oh, we have many common acquaintances," the colonel 
resumed. " I knew all your comrades — Malinka, Dreby- 
asghin, Maidansky. I was formerly adjutant of gendar- 
merie at Odessa, and made acquaintance with them there. 
They were really delightful people." 

Now I understood why this man was a colonel already, 
notwithstanding his youth. The big political cases during 
the end of the seventies and beginning of the eighties 
had given many officers of gendarmerie and of the law 
grand opportunities for self-advancement. The lives and 
freedom of the " politicals " were the merchandise by 
which they founded their fortunes. This gentleman had 
no doubt played no insignificant part in condemning to 
penal servitude or to death those comrades of mine on 
whom he was now lavishing his compliments. Perhaps he 
had been the originator of the happy thought by which 
the traitor Kuritzin was induced to sacrifice so many 
victims. 1 

My interview with this engaging young man was not 
exactly to my mind, and I was glad to be called away. I 
was taken to a comfortably furnished apartment, where 
Kotliarevsky was seated in an armchair before a large 
table, looking over some papers. 

1 Kuritzin was arrested in consequence of the attempt upon Gorinovitch, 
and turned traitor unknown to his former comrades. He was shut up in 
a cell with the other prisoners, so that he might spy upon them ; and through 
his information some of them were sent to the mines in Siberia, and many 
others delivered into the clutches of the law. I believe that he himself is now 
practising somewhere as a veterinary surgeon. 

3 M 


" I have some documents here that concern you," he 
said, and began to read aloud :— 

"In the beginning of August, 1878, the widow of the 
murdered Baron Gehkin, adjutant in the gendarmerie, 
observed in the neighbourhood of General Mezentzev's 
house two young men who were apparently watching for 
the General." The document went on to state that the 
Baroness had recognised one of these young men to be 
myself; and on the following day she had seen them 
again on the watch, her cousin Baron Berg being with 
her at the time. Then followed a paper in which Baron 
Berg corroborated the lady's evidence. There was a time, 
1878-9, when a good many people delighted in romancing 
about me, and persisted in ascribing to me a prominent 
role in events taking place in the most widely separated 
parts of Russia. These imaginings even found their way 
into the press, and I was often surprised to read in the 
papers accounts of my varied exploits ; I seemed to be a 
perfect Stenka Rasin ! 1 

I remember, for example, that on May 25th, 1878, when 
I was still in prison at Kiev, a rich lady of that place was 
murdered, evidently by thieves. Baron Gehkin was shot 
on the following night, May 26th ; and on the night after 
that, May 27th, I and two comrades escaped from prison. 
I soon saw in the newspapers that, according to the 
opinion of many astute persons, the author of both these 
murders could be none other than myself! 

The evidence as to my being concerned in the death of 
General Mezentzev was in the same way complete non- 
sense. When Kotliarevsky had read me the documents, 
he asked me what I had to say about them. 

" It appears that the Government has not given up the 
attempt to implicate me in affairs not specified in the 
extradition treaty," I said ; " I shall therefore refuse to 
answer questions relating to any outside matter." 

1 A noted Cossack chieftain of the seventeenth century, who has become a 
hero of Russian popular romance. — Trans, 


" Well, if you refuse to give evidence, we will leave it 
alone," said Kotliarevsky, with perfect composure, and he 
clapped the papers together again. " Besides, I may as 
well tell you that I attach no importance to the testimony 
of these good people. So far as I can make out, you had 
already gone abroad when Mezentzev was murdered ? " 

I assented. He seemed, nevertheless, to want to draw 
me out on this subject ; but as I did not assist his 
endeavours in that direction he began to chat about in- 
different matters, asking me questions as to our Socialist 
propaganda and our views. When, however, I quoted 
from some of our writings, he confessed that they were 
quite unknown to him. 

While we were talking, Bogdanovitch came in from a 
neighbouring room. My readers will remember him as the 
gentleman who had been by way of identifying me at 
Freiburg. He greeted me, and sat down at the table. 
We met without any sign of ill-feeling or recollection of 
the sharp passage-at-arms we had had together. 

" I wish you would tell me," I said to him, " as it is 
now a thing of the past, when did you see me in Kiev ? 
I have no remembrance of you." 

He replied, laughing, that he had seen me once in 
prison ; but I saw at once that he was bluffing. Evidently 
he had recognised me at Freiburg merely from Kotliarev- 
sky's description. I was curious to know when exactly 
the Baden authorities had found out with whom they 
were dealing ; and when I asked him this, Bogdanovitch 
replied, " They knew some weeks before the extradition 
that you could not be Buligin, and then you were put 
under stricter supervision, with a guard before the prison. 
About ten days before my arrival they were informed 
that you were Deutsch." 1 

1 While these pages are in the press comes the news (May, 1903) о 
Bogdanovitch's assassination. Having risen to be Governor of Ufa, he had 
suppressed in a very brutal manner a strike at Zlatoust. Shortly afterwards 
he was shot in a public park, and his assailants escaped. — Trans, 


It was now clear to me why I had been moved into 
a different cell, and also why Herr von Berg had forbidden 
me to speak Russian with my visitors. 

As I was going away, to be taken back to the House of 
Detention, I asked Kotliarevsky whether I should soon be 
brought before a fully qualified tribunal. He could give 
me no decided answer, and himself seemed surprised at 
my being kept in Petersburg so long. 

This was the last time I saw Kotliarevsky. I learned 
afterwards in Siberia, from comrades arriving there, that 
though he had dealt fairly by me, his conduct of some 
political trials had been considered altogether too mean ; 
it not only drew down on him the bitter hatred of the 
accused, but was too much even for his superiors, and he 
was withdrawn from the cases. About three years ago 
he was President of the Courts at Vilna ; where he is now 
(1902) I do not know. 

This interview convinced me still further that the 
Government would not be content to restrict themselves 
to prosecuting me in the Gorinovitch case. Every morn- 
ing I awoke wondering what would happen next ; but 
day after day went by without anything fresh. July came, 
then August, and I was still waiting in my cell. One day 
towards the end of August gendarmes again came for me, 
and I was ordered to prepare for a journey ; it had at last 
been decided to send me to Odessa. While the carriage 
conveyed me through the streets I sadly took leave of 
my beloved Petersburg, which I could never hope to see 




MY removal to Odessa went off without any note- 
worthy incident. The change of scene, the railway 
journey, the sight of people, their doings, their speech, all 
had a reviving effect on me ; but the company of three 
gendarmes did not allow me to forget for an instant that 
I was a prisoner on my way to judgment. The idea of 
escape, however, never left me, and once at least circum- 
stances seemed favourable. It was night; we were already 
nearing Odessa. I had been dozing, and when I awoke 
I saw that all three gendarmes were fast asleep. My heart 
began to thump wildly, and my plan was made in an 
instant : to get my scissors out of their hiding-place, cut 
off my beard, stride over the sleeping gendarmes, step out 
on to the footboard of the train, and jump off. But as this 
flashed through my mind, one gendarme opened his eyes, 
waked the others by shaking them violently, and scolded 
them with a most self-righteous air for not keeping guard. 
I feigned sleep, and the scene was over. 

In Odessa a prison van with barred windows awaited 
me. I was taken at first to a prison for political offenders, 
under the rule of the gendarmerie. While my belongings 
were being searched, the scissors suddenly fell on the floor, 
to the no small astonishment of the warder, a former 

" Nice order they keep in Petersburg ! Prisoners are 
allowed to have scissors there ! " he exclaimed. He 


74 ODESSA [chap. 

imagined I had brought them openly in my luggage, and 
of course I left him in his pride at being cleverer than his 
colleagues in the capital. 

In this prison conditions were very much like those in 
the Fortress of Peter and Paul : rather large, dark cells, 
tolerably good food, the same strict, formal bearing of the 
gendarmes, and the same all-pervading silence. In order 
at once to draw attention to the stipulations of the extra- 
dition treaty, I expressed my astonishment at being again 
put into a prison for " politicals." Whether on account of 
this protest or because of an order from Petersburg I do 
not know, but after a few days I was removed to the 
prison for ordinary criminals. 

It was evening, an evening that I shall never forget. 
They put me into a cell, and when the door closed behind 
me I could at first see nothing, the cell was so dark, and 
only the feeble rays of a lamp shone through a little window 
in the door. When my eyes had begun to accustom them- 
selves to the dimness I set to work to take stock of my 
quarters. The cell was circular, and contained no bed, 
chair, nor table ; only the customary wooden tub, a water- 
bucket, also of wood, and some straw on the floor — nothing 
else. I was much surprised, and thought there must have 
been some mistake. I went to the door, and saw through 
the peephole that two armed soldiers were on guard, while 
on a bench close by sat a gendarme and a policeman. I 
had been in many prisons, but this state of things was new 
to me. 

" Look here ! What is all this ? Where are the bedstead 
and mattress ? " I asked, sticking my head through the 
little window. 

" Don't know," said the gendarme briefly. 

" Then call the governor ! " 

He did not stir, but after a while the deputy-governor 

11 Will you tell me what this means ? " I said, indicating 
the state of the cell, 


" I know nothing about it," replied he. " We have 
simply followed instructions. You must apply to the 
Deputy Public Prosecutor, who will be here to-morrow." 

I felt horribly cast down. " What shall I do if they 
refuse to improve things ? ' I thought, sitting down in the 
straw with my head in ' my hands. Soon fatigue over- 
powered me, and I lay down ; but hardly had I gone to 
sleep when I sprang up broad awake — mice were scratching 
and burrowing in the straw ! I paced up and down the 
tiny cell, feeling how stifling the atmosphere was. The 
tub stank vilely ; the space outside where the four watchers 
were was small, and only used-up air penetrated thence 
into the cell. I wished I could effect some ventilation, but 
the window was high up and could not be opened. I 
awaited the day with impatience, hoping I should at least 
be able to breathe some fresh air. Wearily the hours 
dragged along ; sometimes I had to lie down for a 
moment's rest, but only to spring up again because of the 
mice. At last day dawned. 

" Take me to the air ! " I cried to the gendarme, who 
seemed here to act as warder. 

" I have no orders to do so," was his reply. 

Towards midday the Deputy Public Prosecutor arrived. 
I explained to him the horrible conditions to which I had 
been subjected, and demanded redress. 

He listened to me, but assured me he could do nothing 

" But tell me what hinders you from giving me a 
bedstead ? " 

" You could climb up to the window and try to escape." 

" Excuse me," said I, "do consider what you say. Four 
men are watching me ; even if I stood on the bed I could 
not reach the window without their seeing me. This is the 
fifth floor, and a sentry goes backwards and forwards 
below the window ; if I could pass him I should next 
have to climb over a wall as high as a house, on the 
further side of which another sentry is posted ! Surely 

76 ODESSA [chap. 

you must see," I urged, " that under these circumstances 
any attempt at flight is out of the question." 

" Who can tell ? You have often got away before." 

" Only twice," I corrected. 

" Well, that's quite enough," said he. " I can't do any- 
thing for you." And he went г. way. 

I had already made up my mind what to do now. On 
no account would I put up with this treatment, but would 
maintain a passive resistance. 

The gendarme brought my food in a wooden vessel 
and placed it on the floor. 

" Take it away ! I shall not eat anything," I said. 

He took it up again and withdrew in silence. 

This was repeated every day at meal-times. The hours 
dragged on. I could get no fresh air, could not read, as 
they would give me no books, could not even sleep for 
the mice. I did not feel any great craving for food, but 
drank water continually. In mind I suffered frightfully, 
not that I felt any anger against these people, but I was 
irritated beyond measure at the utter senselessness of such 

" You will have time enough," I apostrophised the staff, 
" to poison life for me after I am once sentenced ; but for 
the present I am only on trial." 

For three days I went without food, and nobody 
seemed to trouble themselves about it, though, of course, 
the attendants knew what was going on. On the after- 
noon of the fourth day I was taken to the office. Un- 
washed (I had purposely abstained from washing ever 
since my arrival), my clothes covered with dust and bits 
of straw, I appeared before the Public Prosecutor of 
Odessa and the examining magistrate. They informed 
me they were there for the preliminary inquiry into my 
case, and would take my evidence. I told them I was 
in no condition to answer questions, and set forth my 
grievances, saying that I intended to starve myself as a 


" Oh, you refuse to take your food ? Well, then, we 
shall have to feed you by artificial means." * 

As I knew what he meant, I replied promptly, " Try it, 
then ! But I warn you that if you do, I know of a way 
to bring on sickness and diarrhoea, and it will simply 
hasten my end." Of course, I did not know anything 
of the kind, but thought this piece of bluff might ward 
off the fulfilment of the Prosecutor's threat. 

He looked sharply at me, and threw a meaning glance 
at the magistrate, as if to say, " The devil only knows 
what this fellow mayn't be up to ! He's an old hand, and 
knows all the tricks of the trade." 

For a moment they were both silent. I saw that my 
words had taken effect, and began to dilate on their folly 
in treating me as they were doing. 

" You must allow," I said, " that all this is scarcely 
reasonable. The Government treats with Germany for 
my extradition, an important official travels to Baden on 
that account, you make no end of a fuss before the eyes 
of all Europe ; and when, after setting all this machinery 
of the State to work, you have at last got hold of me, you 
can't bring the accused to justice, because you have driven 
him to commit suicide ! And all on account of such mere 
trifles to you as a bed and a few other necessaries ! You 
must see how out of proportion the whole thing is." 

" Well, I'll go and see for myself how they have provided 
for you," said the Public Prosecutor, and went off. 

When he returned he seemed in some excitement : 
" Well, it's perfectly true," he exclaimed, " they have used 
you shamefully! I assure you it is no fault of mine. 
Three persons have united against you — the colonel of 
the gendarmerie, the governor of the tow r n, who controls 
the police, and the commandant of the military garrison. 

1 Not long before this some political prisoners had got up a "hunger- 
strike " as a protest against unjust treatment ; and the authorities becoming 
alarmed at their condition of weakness, the prison doctor, Dr. Rosen, had 
forcibly administered nourishment by means of the enema. 

78 ODESSA [chap. 

Before your transference to this prison they all three 
came here, settled all the arrangements, gave their orders, 
and sent subordinates from their own departments to keep 
guard over you. Unfortunately I cannot overrule these 
arrangements on my own responsibility, but I will apply 
personally to the authorities concerned ; and all I can 
do in the meantime is privately to advise the governor 
of the gaol to consult your wishes as far as possible." 

Thereupon the governor was called in, and the Public 
Prosecutor repeated this to him in my presence. We 
then concluded a sort of compromise. A proper bed was 
brought into my cell for the night, my books were given 
to me, and a table and writing-things for the daytime. 
All these things had to be taken away again if any officials 
were coming round who might report the matter. That 
I might get a little fresh air the governor arranged for 
me to take exercise in an outer courtyard where the 
other prisoners could not see me. Upon these conditions 
I consented not to prolong my " hunger-strike," and that 
evening I partook of some food. It was only when I 
began to eat that I realised how fearfully hungry I was. 
I could have devoured an ox ; but knowing that in such 
cases care is advisable, I put a curb on my appetite. 
During the two following days I felt very seedy, as though 
I had had a bad illness, and my attendants treated me 
rather like a convalescent ; the governor and the deputy- 
governor inquired frequently after my health ; even the 
gruff gendarme made himself agreeable, and went to the 
kitchen to buy me food and simple dainties. 

The morning after this I went for exercise, accompanied 
by my four guardians. The yard set apart for me was 
a space between the prison building and the surrounding 
wall. The soldiers posted themselves at a little distance 
from each other, standing at attention, while I strolled 
up and down the space between them, closely attended 
by the gendarme and the policeman. It was heavenly 
weather, the clear, mild autumn of the South. As my 


guardians seemed equally to appreciate the spell of 
freedom after the narrow* close corridor, our walks lasted 
longer and longer. I attempted on these occasions to 
get into more friendly relations with the gendarme, who, 
besides being stiffened by severe discipline, was naturally 
of a gloomy, morose turn of mind. When we were walking 
up and down, especially if the policeman were temporarily 
absent, I tried to engage him in conversation, and asked 
him questions on indifferent subjects. This man had been 
selected from among many others as the most trusty, 
zealous, and incorruptible. I must explain that as he 
had no substitute during his watch over me (which lasted 
two or three months), he was supposed to be never off 
duty, but to spend his entire time in the corridor outside 
my door, to eat there, and to sleep there as well as 
he could. To my knowledge he never once changed 
his clothes ! The policeman, on the other hand, only 
remained twenty-four hours at a time on duty, being 
then relieved by another member of his force ; and the 
two soldiers were changed every two hours, from the 
regular military guard which is attached to every Russian 

As I was saying, I tried to get the gendarme to talk to 
me during my exercise, and after a while I found out his 
weak side, and that even he had not a heart of stone. He 
had an enormous family ; and it was very grievous to him 
that as he had received strict orders not to take his eyes 
off me for a second, he could never get away to visit his 
home. He at last contrived to move the governor to stand 
by him, and let him off for an hour now and then, without 
his superiors knowing of it. These secret visits of the 
gendarme to his wife and children led to a tacit under- 
standing between him and me, and brought us more 
together. He could not help letting out complaints now 
and then about the severe discipline that kept him away 
from his family ; and as I listened with much sympathy, 
he presently began to talk about the service, and his hard 

So ODESSA [chap. 

work He related to me how he had helped to get hold of 
Socialists in various ways. > 

" My chief once ordered me," he said, " to keep an eye 
privately on one of the specialist ladies " (unfamiliar words 
were rather a stumbling-block to him, and socialist was 
always specialist in his vocabulary). " Oh, she was a oner ! 
Clever and cute, and could lead us all by the nose. Vera 
Figner 1 was her name. A real beauty she was, and must 
have been well brought up, and associated generally with 
the officers' families. Well, I dressed up in private clothes 
and followed her secretly wherever she went. If she took a 
carriage, I got into a droschky and went after her. If she 
went into a house, I took down the address, and asked the 
concierge who it was the fair lady had visited ; so I got to 
know pretty well who her friends were. I followed her 
like this for three days. Suddenly she disappeared ; I 
couldn't find her anywhere ; she might have sunk into 
the ground. I tell you I did feel a fool ! They say she 
went to Kharkov, and that in the end she was caught." 2 

This zealous gendarme, who had dogged the footsteps 
of the " specialists " with such zest, became in the end 
quite confidential with me, especially when I told him I 
would give him this and that little thing as souvenirs 
when my fate was finally decided. From him I learned 
the details about the watch that was being kept over me. 
He confided to me, among other things, that the governor 
of the town, the commandant of the garrison, and the 
colonel of the gendarmerie had come to look at me during 
the first days of my imprisonment here ; had spied at me 
through the peephole without my being aware of it, and 
had strictly ordered that I was not to be told. 

By degrees the days grew shorter, and I did not know 
how to pass the time during the long evenings, for I had 

1 See portrait, p. 112. 

2 Vera Figner was arrested in Kharkov during February, 1883, the 
informer Merkulov having pointed her out in the street to the police, 
shall have more to say about her later (see chap. xiii. ). 

ix] OUR "CLUB" 81 

no light. Often I ran up and down in my cell for hours 
together, till I was tired Qut. Sometimes I would station 
myself at the door, and listen to the conversation of my 
attendants. The policemen were the most entertaining ; 
they relieved one another every twenty-four hours, and as 
it was only a few of the most trustworthy men in the force 
who took turns in this watch over me, I soon got to know 
them all. It was from them that the gendarme and I 
— almost equally prisoners — heard all the news, the gossip 
of the town, and so forth. Occasionally one of them would 
smuggle in a newspaper, which would then be read aloud 
in the select little club we formed. I would stick my hand 
with the paper in it through the peephole, so as to get 
some light, press my face against the opening, and read 
aloud to the others. The two soldiers would stand at ease 
beside the door, listening eagerly, while a few steps further 
off the policeman and the gendarme sat on their bench. 
If we had no newspaper, nor any special subject for talk, 
the policemen would tell tales of witches, demons, or the 
devil, to which the honourable members of the "club" 
listened with perhaps almost greater interest than to my 
political readings and disquisitions. 

In this way I learned from time to time what was 
going on in the world, despite the attempts of three 
high functionaries to prevent (as the governor of the 
gaol phrased it) even a fly getting into my cell. More- 
over, I managed besides to get news that is not to be 
found in Russian journals, namely, accounts of events 
in revolutionary Russia. A man filling a rather high 
official position, a well-wisher to our cause, helped me 
to this. I owe much to him ; but as I do not know 
whether he be still living or not, I dare not give his name, 
nor particulars of my relations with him, for fear of harm 
ensuing to himself. It is our rule never to speak fully 
about noble deeds done on behalf of revolutionists or the 
revolutionary movement unless the doers are either dead 
or in exile. I can only say that through this friend I was 


82 ODESSA [chap, ix 

able to send letters to my comrades, and that he kept me 
informed of all that might interest me in external events. 
I learned, among other things, that the well-known revolu- 
tionists then living in exile in Paris — Peter Lavrov, Lopatin, 
and Tihomirov — had held a council upon the conduct of 
Degaiev 1 — then also in Paris — and had come to the con- 
clusion that though certainly, in assisting to "remove" 
Soudyehkin, Degaiev had rendered a service to the revolu- 
tionary cause, yet that he must refrain unconditionally 
from any further participation in our movement, and from 
associating in any way with revolutionists. I learned also 
that a young girl of twenty, Maria Kalyushnaya, 2 had 
attempted to shoot Colonel Katansky of the gendarmerie 
in his own house, but had not been successful. About 
a fortnight before my removal to Odessa she had been 
tried before a court-martial ; and as she was not of age, 
had " only " been sentenced to twenty years' penal servi- 
tude in Siberia. 

1 See note, p. 43. 2 See later, chapters xvii, xix, xxi, xxvi, etc. 





ON one of the first days of my imprisonment in 
Odessa I had a small passage-at-arms. I was 
pacing my cell, when I suddenly heard voices raised 
outside the door. I went and looked through the peep- 
hole. It was the officer of the day on his rounds of 
inspection, and he seemed to be questioning one of the 
soldiers about his duties. I was going to draw back again, 
when the words, " Get away from there, you scoundrel ! " 
struck my ears ; and only after a moment did I realise 
they were addressed to me. I was extremely surprised, 
for the officers generally behaved quite politely to the 
" politicals." 

I instantly withdrew from the door without a word, but 
I resolved to teach this gentleman a lesson in manners. 
So that evening, when the deputy-governor paid his usual 
visit to my cell, accompanied by the officer, without 
appearing to notice the latter I asked if prisoners were 
forbidden to look through the peephole. 

" No, of course not," said the deputy-governor. " How 
could anyone prevent you ? " 

" Then, will you please tell me if a prisoner should be 
abused by an officer for doing so ? " 

" Certainly not." 

I then related what had occurred, and requested the 
official to give me particulars in writing next morning 


84 ODESSA [chap. 

as to this officer's name and position, so that I should 
know how to state my compla iV t about him. 

Next day my gendarme told me this promising young 
lieutenant had been round more than once during the 
night, telling him and the policeman what they were to 
say if there were any inquiry. Evidently the young 
fellow was in some trepidation, as he had thus humbled 
himself before his inferiors. I felt rather sorry for him, 
and thinking he had a sufficient warning, I took no further 
steps in the matter. 

My case, meanwhile, was running its course. About 
the middle of September the examining magistrate read 
me the document that was the outcome of his labours. 
According to paragraph so-and-so of the statute-book, it 
set forth, he must hand me over to the Prosecutor of the 
Military Court. I at once entered a protest, calling 
attention to the extradition treaty, which enjoined my 
being tried by the ordinary civil law, not by any special 
tribunal. Whereupon the magistrate showed me a paper, 
in which the Minister of Justice informed him that after 
the conclusion of the examination he must act according 
to such and such a paragraph, which enacted that crimes 
committed by any person belonging to the army must be 
dealt with by a court-martial. 

" When the crime of which you are accused was com- 
mitted," said the magistrate, "you were serving in the 

This makes another retrospective digression necessary, 
that I may tell the reader something about my youth and 
my brief military career. 

Led by the spirit of the times and my own convictions, 
I had donned peasant's dress and gone " among the 
people," to return home in the autumn of 1875 disen- 
chanted and discouraged after my propagandist efforts. 
Like many youths of those days, I was filled with im- 

x] WAR FEVER 85 

petuous longings. I wanted to use my young strength, and 
yearned after great deeds <; but what I should begin upon 
I hardly knew. 

When I returned from my campaign I found very few 
of my old companions in Kiev. Some were in prison, 
others were scattered to the four winds. It was just at 
this time that insurrections had broken out in Bosnia and 
Herzegovina. Numbers of young men, among whom were 
many Socialists, had joined the volunteer corps, and I 
found a very warlike spirit abroad. The fight for freedom 
on the heights of the Balkans was the topic of the day. 
A youth of twenty was naturally carried away by this 
tide ; and I was preparing to go off to the war and fight 
in the struggle to release an oppressed people from the 
Turkish yoke, but I was too late, the waves were 
retreating. Volunteers wrote from the scene of action 
letters that were only disheartening. The situation was 
of such a nature that young people — for the most part 
not inured to the hardships of guerilla warfare — were not 
only useless, but an encumbrance to the fighters ; and our 
friends advised that no more such should be sent out. So 
I had to give up my project. 

However, I had got the war fever, and was altogether 
at a loose end ; so I resolved to serve my time in the 
Russian Army as a volunteer, although it was a year 
sooner than was necessary. Doubtless I was moved to 
this partly by the consideration that as a soldier I should 
have opportunities of continuing my propagandist work, 
and also by the thought that military training might be 
of use to me hereafter. 

According to the then existing regulations I had only 
six months to serve as a volunteer of the second class. 
Thus it came about that in the end of October, 1875, 
I became a private soldier in the 130th regiment of 
infantry at Kiev. But it also happened that only four 
months later I had to leave the service, as I will now 
explain. One of my friends, a student named Semen 

86 ODESSA [chap. 

Lurye, implicated in the "Case of the 193," * was at this 
time imprisoned at Kiev. The. all-powerful adjutant of 
gendarmerie, Baron Gehkin, had borrowed large sums 
of money from the parents of Lurye, and thanks to this 
circumstance the prisoner was allowed opportunities for 
escaping. I rendered him some assistance in his flight, 
and suspicion falling upon me, my dwelling was searched 
by the gendarmes. My arrest seemed imminent ; and 
being a soldier, I should have been brought before a court- 
martial, which in those days of heavy sentences would 
have sealed my fate, so I went into hiding until the 
intentions of the gendarmerie should become clear. In 
a few days it was evident that Baron Gehkin (who might 
come in for a good deal of blame, as he had allowed the 
fugitive many favours) would be sure to hush the thing 
up, so far as possible. It therefore seemed my simplest 
plan to report myself again on duty, when I should be 
punished for five days' absence without leave, but at worst 
not very severely. Things, however, turned out differently. 
My regiment belonged to the 33rd division, at the head 
of which was Vann6vsky, later Minister of War, and sub- 
sequently of Education. He hated the volunteers ; and 
I, who by no means took kindly to subordination and 
discipline, was not in his good books. As ill-luck would 
have it, just at the time of my absence the General had 
ordered up my battalion of volunteers ; so when I now 
reported myself I was taken straight to him, and he sent 
me off at once to headquarters for trial. I was accused 
of desertion ; and over and above that I had brought 
upon myself a charge of insulting an officer on duty, 
because I had objected to being called " thou " and roughly 
handled by the officer on guard. The affair looked rather 
bad for me, and flight seemed the only remedy. I suc- 
ceeded in making good my escape with the help of two 

1 One of the monster trials of revolutionists undertaken by the Russian 
Government at that period. More than 1,000 persons were implicated 
in it. — Trans. 


of my comrades, who brought me civilian's clothes into 
the bath-house. I dressed myself in them, and passed the 
sentry at the door unrecognised. This was in February, 
1876, from which time until the autumn of 1877 I was 
free, but an " illegal," as I have already said. In the 
autumn of 1877 I was again arrested, as related in 
chapter i., and in the following spring I once more 

To return to my present narrative. I made two protests 
against the magistrate's decision to send me before a court- 
martial : one directed to the president of the Military 
Court in Odessa, and one to Nabokov, the Minister of 
Justice. I called Bogdan6vitch to witness that the 
Government of Baden had only surrendered me on con- 
dition that I should be brought before an ordinary court, 
and tried by civil, not martial law. If a military court 
were to try me for desertion and insulting an officer, that 
would be against the conditions of the treaty, which laid 
down that I should only be answerable on the Gorinovitch 

As was to be foreseen, my petitions were set aside 
without further parley ; and soon after, my indictment, 
signed by the Public Prosecutor of the Courts-martial, 
was put before me. This indictment left me in no doubt 
as to what kind of trial I was to have. Certainly the 
facts relating to the assault on Gorinovitch were given ; 
but nothing whatever was said as to the motives, nor as 
to the circumstances that led to it. Of course, the prose- 
cutor had not failed to make use of the most stringent 
articles in the Russian Criminal Code. The heaviest 
punishment authorised therein (for parricide and such-like 
crimes) is penal servitude for life, and it was the very 
article dealing with that sentence which was cited in my 
case. According to the law this penalty is capable of 
various degrees of mitigation under certain extenuating 
circumstances : e.g. it may be reduced to twenty years' 

88 ODESSA [chap. 

penal servitude when the victim of the assault survives, 
even though against the intention of his assailant ; and 
further, the term of years is to be shortened by a third 
if the perpetrator be under age at the date of the crime. 
In accordance with this, the Public Prosecutor asked for 
thirteen years and four months as my sentence, that being 
the maximum penalty to which I could be liable under 
the terms of the extradition treaty. Even then, the procla- 
mation made at the time of Alexander III/s accession 
might come into consideration ; by it judges were authorised 
to remit the punishments for any crime committed before 
the date of the proclamation. In my case there was no 
hope of this permission being used ; and I looked upon 
this whole travesty of justice as a formality which had 
to be gone through, but otherwise of no significance. I 
therefore declined the assistance of the advocate assigned 
to me (some candidate for a military post), and prepared 
to endure the unpleasant ordeal as best I could. 

The day of the trial came. A great van with barred 
windows rumbled into the prison yard. I was put into it, 
a sergeant of police took his seat beside me, and the door 
was fastened outside with a mighty padlock. The gen- 
darme who had been so long my companion in captivity 
mounted the box ; a company of infantry escorted us, and 
the cortege was finally surrounded by Cossacks on horse- 
back. The Chief of Police led the van, and a commissary 
of police formed the rearguard. It might have been 
supposed that at least a dozen robber chiefs, each with his 
horde of banditti, were being transported through the 
town. As we passed along the streets this unusual pro- 
cession aroused the attention of the public, and I saw 
people crowding to the windows. Meanwhile I chatted 
quietly with the police-sergeant. It seemed that he had 
been on duty in Kiev twenty years before, and knew my 

"Who would have thought that little Deutsch I often 
used to see would ever come to this ! " said he, and began 

x] MY TRIAL 89 

following up old recollections, talking of my father and 
our house. My thoughts, flew back over the years, and 
scenes of my childhood rose before me. 

The court was filled with a carefully selected " public," 
consisting of officers and their womenfolk, people con- 
nected with the law, and other representatives of the 
official world. The examination of the witnesses produced 
nothing of any interest. Most of those originally called 
were either dead or had disappeared, and those few who 
did attend made inconclusive statements, their memories 
being vague after the lapse of eight years — some, indeed, 
refused to answer on that account. The principal witness, 
Gorinovitch himself, for some reason did not appear, but 
his deposition was read. I on my side took little part in 
the proceedings, and had renounced my right to call 
witnesses for the defence. But I was moved and excited ; 
the large audience, mostly hostile, that gazed on me 
worked on my feelings. I sought for a familiar face, but 
saw nobody I knew except the Public Prosecutor of the 
Civil Courts, who had conducted my examination in 

After the hearing of witnesses the Military Prosecutor 
took up his parable. His speech was a verbal reiteration 
of the formal indictment which I had already seen. All 
my interest was to hear what motives he would assign. 
As he could impute to me neither " selfish ends ,: nor 
"personal hatred/' he gave "revenge" as the reason of 
the assault ; but of course he had to abstain carefully from 
suggesting any motive for this " revenge," as he dared not 
mention the word " political." The order to keep dark at 
all costs the political character of the case led to perfectly 
irreconcilable accounts of what happened. The Public 
Prosecutor informed the court that I had been arrested in 
1877, an d had made such and such admissions in the 
course of examination, but that I had subsequently " with- 
drawn " from justice. He dared not say that I had escaped 
from prison at Kiev ; and it was still funnier when he had 

9o ODESSA [chap. 

to explain that I had " withdrawn " from my military 

I began my defence by the declaration that I had no 
desire to plead for any mitigation of sentence, as was 
proved by my not denying that I had fully intended to 
kill Gorinovitch, though there was no proof of this save 
my own avowal. 1 I was ready to face the consequences, 
and my only wish was that the story should be truthfully 
told, that things might appear in their true light. With 
that in view I would put clearly before the court the 
reasons why my comrades and I had come to the resolu- 
tion of putting Gorinovitch to death. Scarcely, however, 
had I uttered the words, " We had formed a ■ circle ' in 
Elisavetgrad," than the presiding general, Grodekov, in- 
terrupted me with the observation that under the con- 
ditions of the trial I must refrain from any allusion to 
political offences. 

Of course, under such terms a true exposition of the 
real character of the affair could not possibly be made, the 
events could not even be narrated with any coherence. 
For instance, when I began again, " While Gorin6vitch 
was in prison in Kiev," the president stopped me instantly, 
and said that was out of order ; and though I then care- 
fully avoided mentioning. names of persons or places, or 
any political occurrence, I was continually interrupted by 
the president, and threatened with being silenced altogether 
or removed from court. I really did not see how to put 
things so as to make out the simplest statement ; and I 
soon concluded this so-called speech of defence, in which 
I was not allowed to defend myself, and scarcely to speak. 
Even then the Military Prosecutor carried the comedy so 
far as to wax indignant over my " contradictory state- 
ments." I answered him briefly, and declined to make 
any concluding remarks. * ■ 

The deliberation of the court was very short, and the 

1 Grave bodily injury without intent to kill was only punishable with four 
or five years' hard labour, to be diminished by one-third in the case of minors. 


sentence was of course in accordance with the Public 
Prosecutor's demand — thirteen years and four months' 
penal servitude. 

I was then escorted back to prison ; and although I had 
always expected this sentence, I felt in a certain sense 
relieved as if a weight had fallen from my shoulders. 
Everything was now settled once for all. Uncertainty, as 
I have said, is a prisoner's hardest trial ; and I had only 
now to wonder whither I should be sent. As I had been 
tried as an ordinary criminal, I might be despatched to 
Kara, in Siberia, where were okl friends and acquaintances 
of mine, and where the prison life was comparatively 
bearable. Or they could send me to the island of 
Saghalien, where — as all Russia knows — the conditions are 
horrible. But what frightened me most of all was the 
thought that the Government (who by having to stick 
more or less to the extradition treaty had been prevented 
from sentencing me to such a severe punishment as they 
would have liked) might still find some excuse for 
aggravating my penalty, and send me to be buried alive in 
the Schliisselburg fortress. The building of that prison 
had just been finished, and everyone was saying that as it 
was intended for the most dangerous of the " politicals," a 
murderously cruel regime was to be enforced there. 

A week after the trial the president of the court-martial 
came to inform me officially of the sentence. I was taken 
into the office, where General Grodekov had entrenched 
himself behind a wide table, so that he was well separated 
from me ; but even so he commanded the sentries to stand 
between us with fixed bayonets, and seemed terribly 
apprehensive of what I might do to him. I was much 
amused, and my guards were very contemptuous, as 1 
gathered from their subsequent comments while I was 
being taken back to my cell. Indeed, I have never seen 
any civilian take so many precautions when speaking with 
a convict as this seasoned warrior thought necessary. 

Although the proceedings against me were concluded, I 

92 ODESSA [chap 

still had to undergo further examinations, but in the 
character of a witness. First there appeared one day a 
captain of gendarmerie, accompanied by the Public 
Prosecutor. He addressed the following question to me:— 

" A letter was found in your cell at Freiburg ; it con- 
tained an address. You were to arrange for the despatch 
of books from this address. Can you tell me what the 
books were, and who was the writer of the letter ? And 
remember," he continued, " that through our possession of 
this address a number of persons in Vilna have been 
arrested. If you will tell us who was the actual writer, the 
others will be set at liberty." 

I knew this trick well enough, and replied calmly — 

" You seem to think it not dishonourable to reveal the 
names of one's correspondents. I cannot agree with you." 

The young man looked embarrassed, and hastily brought 
our interview to an end. 

It was true that the authorities in Baden had consented 
to give up all my papers to the Russian Government ; an 
excess of zeal they might well have spared, for in con- 
sequence many absolutely innocent people were molested 
by the secret police. I myself was to blame, having un- 
fortunately omitted to destroy this address when I was 
sorting my papers with Professor Thun. 

Another time I was called up by an examining magis- 
trate, who showed me a letter from the Ministry of Justice, 
instructing him to examine me concerning some events 
connected with the murder of General Mezentzev. He 
read me the deposition of a certain Goldenberg ; according 
to which I had met Goldenberg one day in the horse- 
market of Kharkov, and had mentioned to him that it 
was S. Kravtchinsky 1 who had stabbed the chief of 

I did indeed recollect walking in the horse-market with 
Goldenberg, and that he had told me how he himself had 

1 Well known to English readers by his assumed name of Stepniak. See 
later, chap. xxv. — Trans. 


in that very place killed the governor of Kharkov, Prince 
Kropotkin. Whether I had said anything about the part 
played by Kravtchinsky in the assault on Mezentzev I 
could not remember. The thought shot through my mind 
that Kravtchinsky had perhaps been captured abroad like 
myself, and that the Russian Government were wanting 
to get him extradited too. The statement of Goldenberg, 
which only repeated the words of another, was not suffi- 
cient evidence for that, and they desired my testimony in 
addition. I therefore did not refuse to speak on this occa- 
sion, but made a statement tending to counteract that of 
Goldenberg. I told them I had certainly talked to 
Goldenberg about the assassination ; but that I had merely 
mentioned rumours which ascribed the deed sometimes to 
me, sometimes to Kravtchinsky. Fortunately my alarm 
was unnecessary : Kravtchinsky was already in London 
and out of danger. 



SHORTLY after my trial a feverish anxiety set in at 
the Odessa prison : the Minister of Justice was 
expected. Of course, everything except the straw and the 
tub was taken out of my cell ; and one day the great man 
appeared, attended by an imposing suite — the governor of 
the town among the rest. As soon as Nabokov saw me 
he greeted me by name, which seemed to excite the 
governor's interest in no small degree. 

" Your Excellency is pleased to recognise Deutsch ? M 
" Oh yes ; we have met in Petersburg," answered 
Nabokov in an agreeable tone, as if recalling a meeting in 
some elegant drawing-room instead of in a prison. He 
then turned to me, to tell me that he had received my 
petition, and had " reported to His Majesty " ; but the 
Tsar had pronounced that as a former member of the 
army I must go before a court-martial, and therefore that 
had been the only course. The manner in which I was 
lodged seemed to strike the minister unpleasantly, for he 
looked round my cell, and asked if I were properly treated 
and had no complaints to make. I now learned that my 
transference to Moscow was decided on ; that I was to 
winter there, and remain until the journey to Siberia was 

The way in which the minister had spoken to me seemed 
to have made a powerful impression on the prison authori- 
ties ; for scarcely had " His Excellency " left the place 



than the governor hastened to my cell, and took me to 
one much more comfortable, where were a good bed, a 
table, and a chair. 

"A report has been made to His Majesty himself about 
you ! " I was therefore a person of consequence, and 
the governor's official soul was troubled. I was offered 
books from a lending library, and was henceforth treated 
with marked civility. Of course, I knew that this alteration 
really proceeded from orders given by the three function- 
aries spoken of in a previous chapter, who had been the 
cause of my former ill-treatment. This is a striking 
example of the arbitrary way in which prisoners are used. 

I had not much longer to enjoy these marks of favour. 
A fortnight later I was informed that a party of convicts 
would start for Moscow that evening. I was to accom- 
pany them, and accordingly must assume the convict 
garb. After eighteen years I think of that day with a 

First of all, I was taken into a room where was stored 
everything necessary to the equipment of a convict under 
sentence. On the floor lay piles of chains ; and clothes, 
boots, etc., were heaped on shelves. From among them 
some were selected that were supposed to fit me ; and 
I was then conducted to a second room. Here the right 
side of my head was shaved, and the hair on the left side 
cut short. I had seen people in the prison who had been 
treated in this fashion, and the sight had always made 
a painful impression on me, as indeed it does on everyone. 
But when I saw my own face in the glass a cold shudder 
ran down my spine, and I experienced a sensation of 
personal degradation to something less than human. 
I thought of the days — in Russia not so long ago — when 
criminals were branded with hot irons. 

A convict was waiting ready to fasten on my fetters. 
I was placed on a stool, and had to put my foot on an 
anvil. The blacksmith fitted an iron ring round each 
ankle, and welded it together. Every stroke of the 


hammer made my heart sink, as I realised that a new 
existence was beginning for me. 

The mental depression into which I now fell was soon 
accompanied by physical discomfort. The fetters at first 
caused me intolerable pain in walking, and even disturbed 
my sleep. It also requires considerable practice before 
one can easily manage to dress and undress. The heavy 
chains — about 13 lbs. in weight — are not only an encum- 
brance, but are very painful, as they chafe the skin round 
the ankles ; and the leather lining is but little protection 
to those unaccustomed со these adornments. Another 
great torment is the continual clinking of the chains. It 
is indescribably irritating to the nervous, and reminds the 
prisoner at every turn that he is a pariah among his kind, 
"deprived of all rights." 

The transformation is completed by the peculiar convict 
dress, consisting — besides the coarse linen underclothing — 
of a grey gown made of special material, and a pair 
of trousers. Prisoners condemned to hard labour wear 
a square piece of yellow cloth sewn on their gowns. The 
feet are clad in leathern slippers nicknamed " cats." All 
these articles of clothing are inconvenient, heavy, and 

I hardly knew myself when I looked in the glass and 
beheld a fully attired convict. The thought possessed me 
— " For long years you will have to go about in that 
hideous disguise." Even the gendarme regarded me with 

" What won't they do to a man ? " he said. And I could 
only try to comfort myself by thinking how many un- 
pleasant things one gets used to, and that time might 
perhaps accustom one even to this. 

My own clothes I gave away to the warders, and any 
possessions of value — watch, ring, cigarette-case — I sent 
by post to relations. I kept only my books. I had been 
given a bag in which to keep a change of linen ; and into 
it I also put a few volumes of Shakespeare, Goethe, Heine, 






















Moliere, and Rousseau, thus completing my preparations 
for travelling. 

Evening came. The officer in command of the convoy 
appeared in the prison courtyard with his men and took 
the party in charge. I was conducted to the office. A 
statyehny sphok г is prepared for each individual convict, in 
which his name and place of exile are entered, and also 
a list of the exciseable things he takes with him. In the 
statyehny sphok of each political prisoner his photograph 
is pasted, and in mine there were two. 

The officer carefully went through all these dossiers. 
We were then arranged in processional order. The soldiers 
surrounded us ; the officer lifted his cap and crossed himself. 

"A pleasant journey ! Good-bye ! " called out the prison 

" Thanks. Good-bye ! " cried the officer. He then gave 
the signal to start, and off we marched at a slow pace 
to the station. 

On account of the conditions attached by the Grand 
Duke of Baden to my extradition, I had till now been 
treated sometimes as an ordinary criminal, sometimes as 
a " political " ; but from the moment I joined this convoy 
I was treated frankly as a " political." 2 This being so, I 
was not placed among the ordinary criminals when we 
reached the train, but was put in the compartment reserved 
for the escort. Here there was a fair amount of room, and 
one could be pretty comfortable, while the others were 
packed like herrings in a barrel ; but, on the other hand, 
the society of the soldiers was not very enlivening, as 
they dared not exchange a word with me in presence 
of the officer. 

1 Literally "a list of particulars." — Trans. 

2 The Russian Government has a twofold reason for making this careful dis- 
tinction between ordinary and political prisoners after conviction. Firstly, in 
order that the supervision of the latter shall be stricter, and that they may be 
prevented from influencing the ordinary prisoners ; and secondly, because the 
"politicals" were originally only recruited from the upper and privileged 
classes, and the tradition remains. 



After four-and-twenty hours we arrived at Kiev, where 
we were to have a day's rest. We got out of the train, 
were formed up in procession, encircled by the soldiers, and 
marched by a roundabout way through the suburbs to the 

A strange emotion possessed me, when, after years of 
wandering both in Russia and abroad, I once again passed 
through the streets of my native town. I had not been 
here since I had fled from prison in 1878, six years before; 
and now I returned in chains, with the ominous yellow 
diamond on my back, a convict doomed to years of exile. 

" Get on, get on ! Mind what you're about ! " I heard a 
rough voice say, and felt a poke in my back from the butt- 
end of a rifle. 

" This is the beginning," I thought, and pictured all the 
humiliation and suffering that lay before me. However, 
the officer had remarked the incident, and coming up, 
reprimanded the soldier who had hustled me. 

When we came to the prison gate the convicts were told 
off one by one like sheep, and let through the door in 
turn. I was taken straight to the office. Here everything 
was altered, and everywhere faces were strange to me. 
Fat old Captain Kovalsky was gone, and the rest of the 
staff had been changed too. 

" It was from this prison you escaped ? " asked a haughty- 
looking man in uniform, the new governor, Simashko. I 

" Ah, you managed that very cunningly ! " said he, 

In reality the thing had been very simple. One of my 
comrades, named Frolenko, had provided himself with 
a false passport, and had got employment in the prison ; 
one night he took Stefanovitch, Bohanovsky and me away 
disguised as warders. 1 

1 The story of this escape has been told by Professor Thun, in his history of 
the Russian revolutionary movement {Geschichte der revolutionaren Bewe- 
gung in Russland), and also by Stepniak {Underground Russia: Two 


After the usual formalities I was led away to my cell, 
and as I passed along the corridors I noticed that structural 
alterations had been made everywhere. The cell in which 
I was installed was unusually large, and was almost filled 
up by the wooden bedshelves ; apparently it was generally 
used for a large number of prisoners' temporarily confined 
there, and had now been assigned Ycrr my sole occupation, 
so that I might not be left among the' other convicts; 

The prison of Kiev has an mteresi'ng histbry'ln con- 
nexion with the " politicals." Many episodes- -not always 
entirely tragic — in the revolutionary movement hates tiken 
place there ; indeed, in that respect scarcely any other 
Russian prison except the Fortress of Peter and Paul can 
equal it. Above all, it has been the scene of frequent 
escapes. Besides us Tchigiriners, in the same year the 
student Isbitsky and an Englishman named Beverley 

Escapes), who had it from Bohanovsky ; but the readers of the present 
volume may like to have it repeated with more detail than our author has 
thought fit to give. 

When Stefanovitch, Deutsch, and Bohanovsky were imprisoned at Kiev, 
Frolenko contrived to obtain work in the prison as a sort of odd man under 
the name of Michael. He gradually rose to be warder, first in the criminal 
and then in the " political " department, where, in spite of a feigned protest 
made by his three friends (who did not wish to appear on good terms with 
him), he was appointed to their corridor. They lost no time in fixing a night 
for their escape together ; and having obtained two suits of private clothes 
and a warder's dress for the prisoners to put on, he let them out of their cells 
at midnight. As they were creeping along the dark passages one of them 
stumbled against something, at which he grasped to save himself from 
falling. Instantly a deafening noise woke the echoes, he had clutched the 
rope of the alarm bell ! " Michael " hastened off to explain to the staff that 
he had accidentally caught at the rope, and luckily this sufficed to satisfy 
everyone. As soon as all was quiet again he collected his companions from 
the corners where they had hidden, and all proceeded safely to the entrance, 
where the key was handed to " Michael " without a question. They stepped 
out of the prison almost into the arms of an officer ; but he proved to be their 
comrade Ossinsky, who had been organising the affair, and who now con- 
ducted them to the river, where a boat with provisions was ready for them. 
They travelled up the Dnieper for a week, concealing themselves in the long 
rushes of the bank if a steamer came in sight ; and they finally reached 
Kremutshy, where Ossinsky furnished them with passports and money. 
и Michael" was for long supposed by the Kiev prison officials to have been 
made away with by the escaping prisoners. — Trans. 


attempted an escape. They had scooped out a tunnel 
under the wall, and were actually already free, when a 
sentinel espied them and fired. The Englishman fell dead, 
and Isbitsky was caught. Four years later another student, 
named Basil Ivanov, escaped with the help of the officer in 
command of the- .guard, a J certain Tihonov, a member of 
the .Njxfbrtndiu Volyfy ■ '{Shortly before my arrival, Vladi- 
mir Bitsbko*/ \ also disappeared from Kiev prison in a 
very .mysterious «v/ay < arid so far as I know a certain 
much-esteemed authority has to this day not solved the 
riddle of that, and is probably still racking his brains 
over it. Finally, in August, 1902, eleven "very impor- 
tant" prisoners escaped from Kiev, nine of them having 
been arrested early in the year, and two the year before. 
These prisoners were allowed to take exercise every 
evening in the prison courtyard, in presence of only one 
warder. They and their friends knew that one of the 
surrounding outer walls, beyond which were fields, was 
unguarded on the outside. They were provided secretly 
with an iron anchor weighing twenty pounds, and with an 
improvised ladder made of strips of sheets. At a given 
moment some of the prisoners muffled and gagged the 
guard, and tied him up before he could give the alarm. In 
the meantime others formed themselves into a living 
pyramid, and thus managed to fix their anchor to the top 
of the prison wall, so that they could fasten to it their 
ladder for ascending and a rope for descending on the 
other side. That after they were actually free they could 
manage to hide in the town, and afterwards all get away 
safely, was due to the sympathy of the general public, 
many members of which not only helped the fugitives by 
deed, but also subscribed together a considerable sum to 
assist the escape. It is noteworthy that from first to last 
in this affair no one was killed or hurt, nor a drop of blood 

But these prison walls have also witnessed sadder scenes. 
Many revolutionists have passed their last hours within 


them, waiting to be led to the scaffold. Still greater is 
the number of those who have left this place to tread the 
path to exile and the Siberian prisons. Only the Fortress 
of Peter and Paul, the gaol at Odessa, and perhaps the 
Warsaw citadel, can for memories like these compare with 
the prison of Kiev. Here too, more than anywhere else, 
have conflicts taken place between the imprisoned revolu- 
tionists and the authorities. The tradition as to these 
occurrences remains unbroken ; every " political " cherishes 
the memory of the "old times" — i.e. the exceptionally 
stormy years 1877-9. The young generation speaks of 
them as the "heroic ages"; and not only the prison staff, 
but even the ordinary criminals (who are employed here 
in the domestic labour of the place), relate stories of them. 
The authorities have never succeeded in uprooting the 
independent spirit that flourishes within these precincts, 
and the door had hardly closed behind me when I had 
a proof of it. 

" The ' politicals ' beg that you will be so kind as to 
write down your name, in what case you are implicated, 
and where you were sentenced," I heard a voice at the 
door say. I stepped nearer, and saw it proceeded from 
one of the ordinary criminals, who was speaking through 
the peephole. When I answered that I had nothing on 
which to write, he instantly produced a pencil and a bit of 
paper, and poked them through to me. 

I stated shortly who I was, and begged my comrades to 
let me know in return who and how many they were, and 
concerned in what cases. The same man came back 
almost immediately with a reply, which ended with the 
words : " You will soon hear particulars verbally from our 

And sure enough I soon heard a woman's voice bidding 
me climb up to the window. I did so ; but as I then 
found that there was no way of opening it, I wasted 
no time, simply proceeding to smash two panes of the 
double windows. Outside stood two ladies, wives of 


political prisoners, by name Paraskovya Shebalina 1 and 
Vitolda Rechnyevskaia. They were taking exercise in the 
courtyard of the women's quarters, and my window being 
close to the wall separating the two yards, we could easily 
communicate. I thus heard full details about the im- 
prisoned u politicals," who were hot few in number, as a 
trial had just taken place in the Kiev courts, at which 
twelve persons had been sentenced : four of them, including 
Sheballn, to penal servitude, and his wife to exile, on the 
sole ground that in their house type had been discovered 
with which a pamphlet was to be secretly printed. We 
were, however, suddenly interrupted in our talk by the 
appearance of the assistant governor. 

" What's all this ? You've broken the window ? " 

" Yes," said I ; " why haven't you proper fastenings, so 
that they could be opened ? " 

" Well, you will suffer for it ; you will be frozen with 
cold to-night." And in fact there was a sharp November 
frost. He then turned to the two ladies, and bade them 
go away, as it was entirely against rules to wait about at 
the door. Here, however, he met his match ; for the two 
turned on him, requesting him to be off himself, and not 
disturb us. Paraskovya Shebalina especially was most 
energetic in her treatment of him. She was a lively and 
charming young iady, whom the atmosphere of a prison 
had rendered so nervously excitable that the mere sight of 
an official would send her into a passion, which led to 
endless contests. 

Vitolda Rechnyevskaia shared the captivity of her 
husband. They were a very young ccuple, married only a 
few days before their arrest. Thaddeus Rechnyevsky 2 was 
twenty-one years of age; he had just left the school of 
jurisprudence in Petersburg University when he was 

1 Surnames in Russian take the feminine termination when used for a 
woman. It will be noticed below that the husbands of these two ladies are 
called Shebalin and Rechnyevsky. — Trans. 

2 See portraits, pp. 259 and 260. 


arrested, and was now (1884) under examination as to his 
association with the Poljsh Socialist " proletarian " party, 
whose members were prosecuted at Warsaw in 1885. 

Besides the above mentioned, who were either con- 
demned to banishment or still under examination, there 
were in the prison a number of people who were to be 
exiled by "administrative methods." There had been 
riots in Kiev University shortly before this, in consequence 
of which the University was closed, and many of the 
students were imprisoned. 

New facts and impressions crowded upon me, and it was 
late before I lay down. I threw over the plank-bed the 
sheepskin that had been given me, and covered myself 
with my great-coat. The night was frightfully cold, and 
the wind whistled through the broken window. I put my 
bag under my head, but the French and German classics 
it contained did not make a very comfortable pillow, and 
it was long ere I slept. Suddenly I was awakened by a 
terrific hullabaloo. I ran to the door, and called to the 
warder to know what was happening. After some time 
he turned up, and I learned that the criminals in the next 
room had been having a tussle ; one of them had hidden 
away a few roubles, and the others having seen it, had tried 
to murder and rob him. He had succeeded in keeping 
them at bay and calling for help. 

" That's the way that lot always go on ! " remarked the 
warder composedly, and returned to his post and his nap. 
There were no further consequences of the scrimmage ; 
with an " I'll teach you ! " the warder had separated the 
combatants, and the thing was at an end. He never even 
reported the occurrence, it was such an everyday event. 

Next morning the governor came hurrying to me, and 
said that the colonel of gendarmerie was coming to visit 
me. This was Novitsky ; I did not know him personally, 
but many amusing stories were told about him in our 
circles. He arrived, accompanied by his adjutant, put the 
usual question — " Have you any complaint to make ? " — 

io4 FROM ODESSA TO KIEV [chap, xi 

and then began to chat. It was pure curiosity that had 
brought him. I remember he wanted to know if, when 
abroad, I had come across Debagorio-Makriyevitch, who 
had been imprisoned at Kiev in 1879 an< ^ condemned to 
penal servitude ; but on his way to Siberia had " swopped " 
with one of the ordinary criminals, and so escaped. When 
I said I had seen him in Switzerland, Novitsky over- 
whelmed me with questions : " Now tell me, how is 
Vladimir Karpovitch? What is he doing over there?" 
One would have thought Makriyevitch was at least one 
of his relations; he spoke of him familiarly by his Christian 
name and his father's name. 1 Like Colonel Ivanov in 
Petersburg, who had known my old companions, he too 
went off into praises of them ; though all the while he 
was doing what he could to bring two of Makriyevitch's 
comrades to the scaffold. 2 They are easy-going people, 
these ornaments of officialdom ! 

1 It should be remembered that in private intercourse Russians do not use 
their family names, but the Christian name combined with the Christian 
name of the father, e.g. Vladimir Karpovitch — Vladimir, son of Karpo, the 
same man's family name being Debagorio-Makriyevitch. 

2 Antonov and Brantner, besides Osslnsky and some of the others whose 
names I have mentioned above. 




NEXT morning I was taken to the office, where 
arrangements were being made for the continuation 
of our journey. When formalities were over the governor 
said to me that I had better go into the next room : " You 
will find company there — comrades of yours who are to 
travel to Moscow with you." 

In my conversation with the two ladies they had told 
me that two exiles, banished by " administrative methods," 
Vladimir Malyovany and Anna Ptshelkina, were to travel 
with me ; and I was very glad to make acquaintance with 
my future companions. I had known Malyovany by name 
for some time past. He had once been secretary to the 
Town Council of Odessa, had been exiled to Siberia by 
"administrative methods" in the end of the seventies, 
after some years had made his escape, and was now being 
sent back to Siberia again for five years. 1 

When I entered the room I found there two well-dressed 
young ladies, a middle-aged gentleman with a black beard, 
and an officer in full uniform. One of the ladies stood 
close by the door, and I held out my hand to greet her ; 
but she drew back and stared at me, looking surprised and 
rather alarmed. Evidently she took me for some bold 
criminal ! Smiling, I gave my name ; and the girl in- 

1 This sentence was renewed later, and in 1892 he died in hospital at 


і об FROM KIEV TO MOSCOW [chap. 

stantly grasped my hand, and shook it warmly with 
many apologies. She was Anna Ptshelkina' s sister, come 
to say farewell to the exile. " I really am afraid of you ! " 
she said, with a friendly glance, smiling rather shame- 

The black-bearded man was/ Malyovany. The other 
lady, with a delicate-looking but sympathetic and ex- 
pressive face, was Anna Ptshelkina, who was being sent 
to Western Siberia for three years. The officer was 
Captain Volkov, commanding our convoy. We exiles 
were naturally friends directly, and at once engaged in 
eager conversation. With my shaven head, clattering 
fetters, and convict's dress, I contrasted oddly with the 
others, who looked civilised and respectable. In the faces 
of the two sisters, especially in that of the younger, 
I plainly read the most romantic interest in my fate. 
Probably she now for the first time beheld a. Socialist, 
stamped outwardly as a criminal and deprived of all civil 
rights, going forth to a gloomy future. She begged me, 
if there were any special thing I would like to have, to 
write it down ; and handed me a pencil and paper that 
she might keep my note as a reminder. I wrote down 
the titles of some mathematical text - books, and she 
promised to send them ; but she either forgot all about 
it, or lost my elegant autograph — at all events, the books 
never arrived. 

Malyovany and Anna Ptshelkina were then taken in a 
carriage to the station, while I — though also invited to 
drive — preferred to go on foot. So I marched with the 
rest of the party, rattling my chains, along the streets of 
my native town. When, and under what circumstances, 
should I see it again? 

We were taken straight to the railway carriage engaged 
for us by the organisers of the convoy, while a compart- 
ment was reserved for the officer. We settled ourselves 
comfortably, and the train started. I now asked my com- 
panions the reason of their banishment, and learned from 


them that — as in many other instances described to me 
by people who had similarly been exiled to Siberia by 
" administrative methods " — they had simply been accused 
by the police of being neblagonadyhhny \ i.e. untrustworthy. 
This word has become classical in Russian police affairs, 
and has a conveniently vague signification. Literally it 
means " of whom nothing good can be expected." A 
young man or a girl associates with So-and-so, reads such 
and such books ; this is enough to awaken suspicion that 
the said young man or girl is "untrustworthy." The police 
or the gendarmerie pay a domiciliary visit, find a sus- 
picious letter or a prohibited book, and then the course 
of events is certain : arrest, imprisonment, Siberia. It 
may be scarcely credible that people languish for years in 
prison, without any pretence of legal procedure against 
them, simply by decree of an officer of gendarmerie ; and 
that at the good pleasure of these officers — most of them 
fabulously ignorant men — people are banished to the wilds 
of Siberia. Even those familiar with Russian affairs are 
often shocked and staggered by some fresh case of this 

As we were nearing a large station the officer informed 
us that we should be joined here by some more political 
exiles ; and when the train came to a standstill, two quite 
young girls — at the most eighteen to twenty years of age 
— and two youths were brought into our carriage. We 
three who came from Kiev were by no means aged ; but 
we might almost have been called old folks by these 
children. We received the new-comers cordially, and of 
course begged for their story, which was as follows. 

In the district of Poltava the chief town is a small place 
called Romny, and in this little town there is a girls' school. 
Two or three of the scholars hit upon the idea of lending 
one another books, and making notes on them — not books 
that were in any way forbidden, but that were accessible 
to all. Soon a few young men joined them ; and thus a 
small reading society was formed, such as might help to 


pass away the long winter evenings in the dull little pro- 
vincial town. As these young people had no idea that 
they were committing any offence, they naturally never 
dreamt of keeping their proceedings secret. But the eye 
of the law is sleepless ! The officer commanding the 
gendarmerie in that place saw and triumphed. For years 
he had been vegetating in this obscure corner of the empire, 
and had never unearthed the least little conspiracy, nor 
brought to light a secret society ; now was his chance. 
He could at last make manifest his burning zeal, his devo- 
tion to his country and his Tsar ; and recognition by his 
superiors, perhaps an order or promotion, shone before 
him. One night the gendarmerie paid domiciliary visits to 
the dwellings of the young ladies of the school. Certainly 
nothing suspicious was found, but the frightened girls 
" confessed " that they had " held meetings," and that they 
read books in a " society." This was enough for the brave 
sergeant ; here were grounds for the State to take action 
against the " secret society of Romny." The girls and 
their friends were arrested and imprisoned ; a report was 
sent to Petersburg about the discovery of a secret society, 
in which such and such persons had taken part, and dis- 
cussed " social questions " together ; the officer was of 
opinion that these evildoers should be sent to Siberia ; — 
and the thing was done. 

When these boys and girls told me their simple tale and 
explained the nature of their " crimes," unflattering as was 
my opinion of legal proceedings in Russia, I could hardly 
believe that there was nothing more behind this. Only 
when I became more closely acquainted with these " con- 
spirators of Romny " and other " criminals " of their class, 
was I convinced that no suggestion of fancy is too slight 
and unsubstantial to be formulated as a ground for prose- 
cution and banishment of the most harmless people by 
the gendarmerie, the secret police, and the other guardians 
of public safety in Russia. 

After having been imprisoned for a considerable time, 


these young people were now being exiled to Siberia for 
three years ; but as travelling on the Siberian rivers can 
only begin in the month of May, they were to pass the 
winter with us in the Moscow Central Prison for exiles ; 
in other words, they must remain for another six or eight 
months under lock and key. 

" Doesn't this sound like the Inquisition of the Middle 
Ages ? " we said to one another, talking over this specimen 
of " administrative exile." The officer of the convoy heard 
us, and there arose a lively discussion, in which, of course, 
he combated our views on Russian politics. A witness for 
the crown was soon forthcoming. During our halt at some 
big station (probably Tula or Oriel) Anna Ptshelkina 
opened the barred window to get some air ; and a young 
peasant of about twenty-two or twenty-three who was 
passing, stopped and stared at the young lady, and cried 
jeeringly, with a mischievous grimace, "Aha! so you're 
caught, are you ? Now you've really got something to 
grumble at ! " We all burst out laughing. How simple 
was this peasant lad's view of political difficulties ! 
" Caught," " grumble " — the situation was as clear as day- 
light to his philosophy, and left nothing to be explained. 
But indeed millions of people, from peasants to the highest 
dignitaries, make use of the same logic ; witness the choice 
expression of the Public Prosecutor Kotliarevsky — " Where 
trees are felled there must be chips." Everything can be 
summed up and accounted for in this classically simple 
way ; and our officer could add nothing more. 

When a few Russians get together, however, their 
gloomy disquisitions on the terrible state of things 
prevailing in our country are always varied by enlivening 
interludes of jokes and harmless chatter, funny stories and 
witticisms. Malyovany was in this respect inexhaustible. 
Like most natives of Little Russia, he had a rich vein of 
humour, and was a born raconteur. No wonder, then, that 
from the corner in which the soldiers had established us, 
there frequently issued sounds of irrepressible mirth. 


The journey from Kiev to Moscow took forty-eight 
hours, but at last we arrived at our goal. I again chose to 
walk to the prison ; Anna Ptshelkina, Malyovany, and 
the Romny youths followed my example, while the girl- 
conspirators elected to drive. One of them, named 
Serbinova, was rather delicate ; and the other, Melnikova, 
clung to her friend with such tender affection that she 
would not be separated from her for a moment. 

It was a lovely winter morning ; there was a sharp frost, 
and the houses and streets of Moscow were white with 
newly fallen snow. Our fetters rang clearly in the frosty 
air, and under our feet the snow crackled, as in a long line 
we marched away to the gaol. We passed by many of 
those churches and chapels in which " White Moscow " is 
so rich ; and here most of the convicts uncovered their 
heads and crossed themselves. On the other hand, there 
were many streets and market-squares which reminded us 
" politicals " of historic events that had taken place there, 
which had much in common with our own experiences. 
Here the Tsars had brought their enemies to execution. 
There the suspects had been publicly flogged. And 
now appears " Butirki," as the populace nicknamed the 
Central Prison for exiles about to be deported. It is a 
mighty stone building, and looks like a gigantic well ; a 
great wall, with a tower at each of the four corners, encloses 
it. The main building is reserved for ordinary criminals, 
who are to be transported to Siberia, and contains accom- 
modation for many thousands. In the high towers are 
lodged the various classes of " politicals." Those con- 
demned to penal servitude are confined in the Pugatchev 
tower, which takes its name from the celebrated adversary 
of Catherine II. ; that Pugatchev who wanted to "shake 
Moscow to its foundations," and was made a show of in an 
iron cage, till the Tsaritsa sent him to the scaffold. In the 
north tower were the " administrative " exiles ; in the third, 
or chapel tower, those still under examination ; in the 
fourth the women belonging to all the different categories. 













xii] "BUTIRKI" in 

I was well informed as to the conditions prevailing in 
this giant prison, from which thousands — if not tens of 
thousands — of persons of all sorts and conditions are 
despatched yearly into exile. The reports were not 
exactly unfavourable, but when we arrived at the door 
and entered the gloomy edifice, a painful feeling seized 
on me. Since my arrest in Freiburg — that is, during at 
least eight months — I had come to know three German 
and six Russian prisons, and in each there was a different 
regime. However careless one may be of one's material 
comfort, one cannot help experiencing an uncomfortable 
sensation when entering a new place of confinement ; 
knowing that one may be denied the most elementary 
necessaries, and may perhaps have once more to begin 
a bitter fight about one's right to exercise, books, a table, 
or a bedstead. 

In the spacious office there awaited us a man of about 
sixty, with a long white beard, and spectacles on his nose, 
dressed in a well-worn military coat with officer's epau- 
lettes. This was Captain Maltchevsky, one of the prison 
governors, specially charged with the supervision of the 
political prisoners. After we ourselves and our luggage 
had been searched in the usual way, we were led off to our 
respective quarters. 

I was first taken through a long, narrow court termi- 
nating in a doorway. Here the warder rang a bell ; 
another warder appeared, and conducted us through 
another narrow court, and up an iron spiral staircase till 
we reached the third floor. We came to a halt on a 
dimly lighted landing scarcely a yard and a half wide, 
with five doors round it. One of these was opened, and 
I found myself in my cell. A rapid glance showed me 
that it was not exactly luxurious ; it was an irregular 
triangle in shape, so tiny that one could scarcely take 
three steps across it, and very little light came through 
the narrow window. However, it contained a bed and 
other usual furniture. 


" And here I shall have to live for six long months," 
I thought sadly. 

" Good day ! Who are you ? " said a voice close at 
hand. It turned out that two prisoners were my neigh- 
bours, condemned like me to penal servitude in Siberia. 
They were concerned in the "trial of the fourteen," or 
" Vera Figner Case," as we usually called it, and had 
been sentenced at the same time as myself. We intro- 
duced ourselves to one another, and talked through the 
peepholes in our doors, which did not seem at all to 
disturb the warder, who was on the landing. He soon 
after took us out for an airing in the little court I had 
passed through, which was enclosed within high walls ; 
and as he left us alone here, we could talk as much as we 
liked to the tune of our clanking fetters while we walked 
up and down. 

I now for the first time saw other political convicts like 
myself, "deprived of all civil rights" and condemned to 
penal servitude. It was a strange sight. I noted their 
youthful but worn faces ; both of them wore spectacles, 
and on their heads were round caps with no brims. With 
their yellow sheepskins and rattling chains my comrades 
gave one the impression that they could not be real 
convicts, but were just dressed up for the part — so great 
was the concrast between their refined faces and behaviour 
and this uncouth disguise. 

They were about my own age — twenty-nine or thirty. 
The elder, Athanasius Spandoni-Bosmandshi, was sentenced 
to fifteen years' penal servitude ; the younger, Vladimir 
Tchuikov, to twenty. 

Neither of them looked as if he had ever been strong, 
and both seemed to have suffered much in health during 
their long imprisonment in the Fortress of Peter and 
Paul. With their pale, thin faces they looked as if they 
had just come through a severe illness. But this obvious 
lack of health had been an advantage to them, as on 
account of it they had escaped incarceration at Schlussel- 






To face page 112 


burg, to which place their comrades sentenced in the same 
case had all been sent. 

We had not known one another while free ; but as we 
had belonged to the same society, and had worked for the 
same ends, we met in prison like old comrades. During 
the first few days our subjects of conversation seemed 
inexhaustible. We talked during our walks, and also in 
our cells, where only a small space separated us, so that 
by speaking through the peepholes we could hear one 
another perfectly well. My apprehensions on entering 
this prison were soon quieted ; for though the cells were 
certainly uncomfortable, we gladly put up with that in 
view of the other ameliorating circumstances. 

On one of the first evenings I was sent for to the office, 
where the old captain awaited me. My comrades had 
described him to me as very good-natured and obliging, 
always ready to forward the wishes of the " politicals " 
whenever possible. He invited me to sit down, and said 
he wanted to talk quite frankly with me, to which I replied 
that I should be very glad if he would do so. 

" You want to get away," he said ; " don't deny it. 
I know it very well. But I think it right to warn you 
plainly that any such attempt can only harm yourself and 
your comrades. We don't want anyone to suffer need- 
lessly here ; we do our best to lighten the fate of the 
prisoners. If there is anything you want, you have only 
to set it down in black and white" (this I found later 
was a pet expression of the old man's) ; " we will send 
your request to the Governor of Moscow, and he always 
does what he can to please the prisoners, as far as the law 
allows him." 

Neither before nor since have I ever met an official who 
spoke so candidly, and his manner inspired confidence. 
The old man seemed to understand the people with whom 
he had to deal. He had evidently heard of my two former 
escapes, and in his diplomatic way hoped to deter me from 
similar attempts by speaking to me straightforwardly and 


•ii4 FROM KIEV TO MOSCOW [chap, xn 

convincing me of his own goodwill. This pleased me, and 
I said to him forthwith that of course every prisoner con- 
demned to penal servitude in Siberia must have a very 
distinct wish to escape ; but that so far as I could see such 
an idea was quite hopeless in this prison, and I had no 
intention of making any attempt of the kind. This answer 
seemed to satisfy the old captain, and we separated with 
the conviction that we should get on rather well together. 



WHEN I told the old governor that I was engaged 
on no plan of escape, I spoke the simple truth. 
After my establishment in this prison I felt too much 
wearied out to think of any such matter. Beyond every- 
thing else I wanted rest, to recover myself after the fright- 
ful tension of the last months. Naturally the desire for 
freedom did not leave me ; no human being in my circum- 
stances could entirely abandon the thought of it. But it 
remained for the time being in the background of my 
consciousness ; I felt I had not the energy to strive 
seriously for its fulfilment. 

Time at first passed peacefully and quietly ; I read a 
good deal, and talked with my new friends. What they 
had to tell was in part new to me, and very interesting. 
I had known nothing at all about the particulars of their 
trial. It remains to this day an isolated case, in which 
nearly all the accused were military or naval officers. Two 
of them, the naval lieutenant Baron von Stromberg and 
Lieutenant Rogachev, were executed. 1 What most inter- 
ested me, however, and will most interest others, was to 
hear about the heroine of this case, the celebrated Vera 

1 The following were condemned to death, but the sentence was after- 
wards changed to penal servitude for life : Captains Aschenbrenner and 
Pohitonov, Second Lieutenant Alex. Tihonovitch, Ensign Ivan Yuvatchov. 
And besides these, Vera Figner and Ludmilla Wolkenstein. 


ііб MOSCOW [chap. 

Figner. 1 At that time her name was in everyone's mouth, 
and for long she was the most popular personage in revo- 
lutionary circles. All the young people worshipped her ; 
and the stories that were told of her talent for organisa- 
tion, her astonishing powers of invention, her wonderful 
perseverance, untiring energy, and boundless readiness for 
self-sacrifice, testified fully to the part she had played in 
our movement. The dignified and unselfish conduct of 
this exceptional woman impressed even the members of 
the court-martial that tried her. 

I had come to know Vera Figner personally in Peters- 
burg, during the year 1877, at a time when she had already 
adopted the idea of going " among the people." Twenty- 
two years of age, slender and of striking beauty, she was 
even then a noteworthy figure among the other prominent 
women Socialists. Like so many other girls, she had thrown 
heart and soul into the cause of the Russian peasants, and 
was ready and willing to sacrifice everything to serve the 

In the summer of 1879 I again came repeatedly in con- 
tact with her. While two years before she had impressed 
me as a very young propagandist, ready to accept without 
question the views of her comrades, she had now formed 
her own independent and keenly logical powers of judg- 
ment. As I have previously said, this was a time of hot 
discussion as to our future programme. Some held the 
opinion that the whole strength of our party should be 
concentrated on the terrorist struggle to overthrow the 
existing machinery of State by attempting the lives of the 
Tsar and the lesser representatives of despotism. Others 
contended that revolutionary propaganda ought still to be 
tried and carried further than hitherto ; that revolutionists 
should work among the people, colonise the villages, and 
instruct the peasants in the manner of the organisation 
Zemlyci г Vblya (Land and Freedom). Vera Figner was 
one of the most strenuous supporters of the former view. 

1 See portrait, p. 112. 

хш] VERA FIGNER 117 

I remember well, how once, when our whole circle had 
met together at Lesnoye, a summer resort near Peters- 
burg, we were arguing hotly with her as to how propaganda 
among the peasantry might be made to yield the most 
fruitful results. She had just returned from a small village 
on the Volga, where she had been living as a peasant, for 
purposes of propaganda. The impressions she had received 
there had stirred her deeply, and she described in graphic 
language the fathomless misery and poverty, the hopeless 
ignorance of the provincial working classes. The con- 
clusion she drew from it all was that under existing 
conditions there was no way of helping these people. 

" Show me any such way ; show me how under present 
circumstances I can serve the peasants, and I am ready 
to go back to the villages at once," she said. And her 
whole manner left no doubt of her absolute sincerity and 
readiness to keep her word. But her experience had been 
that of many others who had idealised " the people," and 
also their own power of stirring them ; and we were none of 
us prepared with any definite counsel that could deter her 
from the new path she had determined to tread — simply 
because she could see no other leading to the desired end. 

When I went to Odessa in the late autumn of the same 
year I found Vera Figner there. In conjunction with 
Kibaltchitch, Frolenko, 1 Kolotkevitch, and Zlatopolsky 
she was busy with preparations for an attempt on the life 
of Alexander II., who was about to return to Petersburg 
from Livadia. The dynamite was stored in her house ; 
she had now put aside all doubt, and devoted herself with 
her whole soul to terrorist activity. 2 

She belonged to the Russian aristocracy ; her grand- 
father had won a name for himself in the guerilla warfare 
against Napoleon's invasion. Inflexible determination 

1 See chap. xi. p. 98, note. — Trans. 

2 Kibaltchitch was executed for participation in the attempt against 
Alexander II. in March, 1881. The others mentioned here were all con- 
demned to penal servitude for life and imprisoned in Schliisselburg, where 
Kolotkevitch and Zlatopolsky died. Frolenko is still alive (1902). 

n8 MOSCOW [chap. 

and tireless perseverance were her most prominent quali- 
ties ; she was never contented with a single task, even 
the most enthralling, but would carry on work in all sorts 
of different directions simultaneously. While engaged in 
making ready for this attempt on the Tsar's life she was at 
the same time organising revolutionary societies among 
the youth of the country, doing propaganda work in the 
higher ranks of society, and helping us in Odessa with a 
secret newspaper that we were starting for South Russia. 

But Vera Figner was still only in the developing stage 
of her strength and capacities. She was already highly es- 
teemed by all who came near her, winning their sympathy 
and confidence ; yet even her greatest friends could hardly 
suspect the depth of character possessed by this radiantly 
beautiful girl. It was fully shown in 1882, when nearly 
all her comrades of the Narodnaia Vblya were in prison, 
and the few who had escaped capture had fled into foreign 
countries ; she resolutely declined to entertain the idea 
of flight, though the danger of arrest menaced her at 
every turn. In 1883 she fell a victim to the treachery of 
Degaiev, 1 and was sentenced to death ; but " by favour " 
this was altered to lifelong penal servitude, and she was 
immured in the living grave of the Schliisselburg fortress, 
where she still is (1902). 

To return to my comrades in the Moscow prison, 
Spandoni and Tchuikov ; besides their own narratives of 
their past experiences I could also avail myself of their 
formal indictments, which they had with them. The chief 
characteristic of these documents was their entire failure to 
show any grounds for the exceptionally heavy sentences 
inflicted. I will set down here what the Public Prosecutor 
had to say against these two companions of my captivity. 

"Athanasius Spandoni was connected with a secret 
printing press discovered in Odessa in the house of the 
married couple Degaiev." Thus began the indictment, 

1 See note, p. 43. 


and it went on to state that he had refused to make any 
confession, but that his membership of the secret society 
Narbdnaia Vblya was sworn to by Mrhe. Degaiev, who 
also stated that he had twice visited her house. That was 
absolutely all. Two visits to a secret printing office were 
punished with fifteen years' penal servitude ! 

The "crime" of Tchuikov was scarcely more serious. 
His indictment ran as follows : — 

"When Vera Figner was arrested in Kharkov, the 
authorities in that place advised us that Vladimir Tchui- 
кбѵ, among others, had been in correspondence with her. 
His house being searched, there were found (1) implements 
for setting up type, (2) implements for making false pass- 
ports, (3) prussic acid and morphia, (4) various seditious 
writings (some printed, some in manuscript), (5) a list giving 
the names of different political criminals, (6) lists for the 
collection of subscriptions to the Narbdnaia Vblya. Tchui- 
kov has acknowledged that he agrees with the principles 
of the Narbdnaia Vblya!' And on these grounds he was 
condemned to twenty years' penal servitude. 

The charge brought against the rest of the accused 
in this case, the naval and military officers, were of a 
similar description ; and for these " crimes " they were all 
condemned to death, the sentence being actually carried 
out as regards two of their number. 

For a time we three were the only inmates of the 
Pugatchev tower, but we were expecting other com- 
panions. In about a fortnight after my advent the con- 
demned in the already mentioned Sheballn case were 
to arrive from Kiev — four sentenced to penal servitude 
and four to exile, among the latter two women. We 
awaited their coming with the greatest interest, but when 
the party arrived only two were brought to our tower, the 
exiles Makar Vaslliev and Peter Dashkievitch. Paraskovya 
Shebalina and a young girl, Barbara Shtchulepnikova, 
also condemned to exile, were of course taken to the 

i2o MOSCOW [chap. 

women's quarters ; but the four other men had quite un- 
expectedly been sent off to Schliisselburg, as the outcome 
of a conflict with the prison authorities, of which I will 
give some particulars. 

I have already tried to give some idea of what all 
convicts must suffer when their fetters are first put on and 
their heads shaved. Until the time of which I write it had 
been customary (and still is, in the case of anyone belong- 
ing to the " privileged classes ") to defer the performance 
of this barbarous ceremony until arrival in Siberia at 
the town of Tiumen. But it occurred to the officials that 
the condemned in the Shebalin case {i.e. Shebalin, Pankra- 
tov, Karanlov, and Borisovitch) should be fettered and 
shaved before their transfer to Moscow. This was hotly 
resented by the victims themselves, and all the other 
" politicals " in the Kiev prison joined in their protest. 
The authorities then employed force to carry out their 
intention, and thereupon the prisoners " demonstrated " in 
the usual fashion, that is, by breaking windows, destroying 
furniture, etc. The occurrence was reported to Petersburg, 
and thence the order was at once received to send our four 
comrades to SchlUsselburg. What that meant I have 
already indicated : burial alive in a state of perpetual 
martyrdom. Most of the unhappy victims die in a few 
years, others lose their reason, and many purposely offer 
violence to the officials in order to win for themselves 
a speedy execution. It is easy, then, to imagine our 
feelings on receiving this news about our comrades, 
especially as there were some among them at whose door 
no accusation of any consequence could be laid. Karanlov, 
for instance, had only been sentenced to four years' penal 
servitude, the court-martial having found it impossible 
to inflict a heavier punishment. He had thereupon married, 
as his wife would by law be permitted to follow him to 
Siberia ; and his imprisonment in Schlusselburg meant 
utter separation for them, as he would not even be allowed 
to write to her. 


The case of the Shebalins was even more sad. The 
young wife had scarcely parted from her husband when 
her child — an unweaned infant, whom she had with her in 
prison — fell ill and died. She herself succumbed to her 
grief, and late in the autumn died in the Moscow prison. 

Soon after these arrivals there came fresh batches of 
" politicals," until the great prison was full to overflowing. 
The Lopatin case contributed many. Hermann Lopatin 
is one of the best-known figures in our Russian revolutionary 
movement. In 1884 he had returned from abroad (whither 
he had earlier been obliged to flee), in order to resuscitate 
the organisation of the Narbdnaia Vblya, all the active mem- 
bers of which were in prison in consequence of Degaiev's 
treachery. Lopatin had almost to begin at the beginning 
again in reorganising that terrorist society, and travelled 
for this purpose all over Russia, establishing fresh con- 
nections everywhere. As he could not depend on his 
memory he had to write down the names of members, 
with notes as to their capacity for usefulness, and he kept 
the bit of paper with this list on it always about his person, 
meaning to destroy it if in any danger. Unfortunately, 
this proved impossible, for one day he was seized in the 
street by the secret police and overpowered before he 
could manage to swallow the compromising document, 
though he had actually got it into his mouth. All whose 
names were on his list were, of course, arrested, and im- 
prisonments were made all over Russia. The numerous 
persons who were sent to the central prison in Moscow in 
consequence of Lopatin's capture were for the most part 
scarcely out of boyhood, and their guilt entirely consisted 
in their being named in Lopatin's list. 

One case that especially moved me was that of Rublnok, 
a young student from Moscow University, aged only 
nineteen, highly gifted, and developed intellectually far 
beyond his years. He was condemned to three years' 
exile in Eastern Siberia, and was eventually sent to one 

i22 MOSCOW [chap, xiii 

of the most forsaken corners of the earth — in the province 
of Yakutsk, beyond the arctic circle. While there he was 
somehow or other set upon by the half-savage natives and 
nearly killed, in consequence of which violent treatment he 
lost his reason and became permanently insane. 

There was much said in our prison (and throughout 
Moscow, too) about the fate of another young student of 
the Peter Rasoumovsky Academy. His name was Kova- 
liev ; he had been arrested on some trifling count, and 
confined in the police prison. A certain officer of the 
guard, Belino-Bshezovsky, was also there, under examina- 
tion for some criminal offence. This representative of our 
gilded youth entered into league with the gendarmerie to 
take advantage of the young student's inexperience ; and 
they planned no less than the concoction of a false attempt 
at assassination. The officer pretended to Kovaliev that 
he himself belonged to the revolutionists, and tempted the 
boy with the suggestion of killing the Public Prosecutor 
of the Moscow Courts (the present Minister of Justice, 
Mouraviev). The unwary youth fell into the trap, and the 
agent provocateur furnished him with a loaded revolver ; 
then, when Kovaliev was to be examined by the Public 
Prosecutor, he was suddenly seized on his way to the 
office by the gendarmes (instructed, of course, by Belino- 
Bshezovsky), searched, and the weapon found on him. 
He was at once charged with being caught in an attempt 
to murder the Public Prosecutor. In his despair he tried 
to commit suicide, but was prevented. The provocative 
role played by the gendarmerie was here too flagrant to be 
concealed, and the representations of the victim's father 
were successful in rescuing him from their clutches. An 
order was sent from Petersburg to hush up the affair. 
Rumours were current everywhere that Mouraviev had 
been privy to the action of the gendarmerie, his attempted 
assassination being designed to fix public notice upon him 
and bring him to the front. But I have no means of 
knowing how far there was any foundation for this report. 



IN this Moscow prison we " politicals " had frequent 
opportunities of intercourse, and we soon managed to 
get news of the outer world. This was partly through our 
discovery that one of the inspectors was accessible to 
bribes. This man — we will call him Smirnov — was about 
five-and -twenty, his family an impoverished branch of the 
smaller rural nobility. His sister was the mistress of a 
personage of some importance, and he owed his situation 
as prison inspector to her influence. Reckless, daring, and 
up to all sorts of dodges, he was ready for any adventure, 
and would not even have recoiled from committing a crime 
if it had seemed likely to be profitable to him. Scarcely 
able to read and write, he had an almost superstitious 
reverence for anything like education, and that made him 
anxious to ingratiate himself with us " politicals." He was 
doubly delighted at being useful to us : first, because it 
flattered his vanity, and secondly, because we were very 
willing to reward his services with coin of the realm. He 
had a special affection for me, and often came to my cell 
for a gossip about all sorts of things. Of his own accord 
he suggested that he might help me to escape ; but I 
turned every plan over and over, and could see none 
likely of success. 

" Just listen, though," he said once ; " we can work it out 
like this : I can disguise you as a lamplighter or a stove - 


i24 MOSCOW [chap. 

cleaner, and take you out of the prison with me, and then 
we can go abroad together." 

This might indeed have been managed, but there was 
much to be said against it ; above all, the feeling of 
solidarity with my comrades prevented me from wishing 
to escape alone. The other two, my neighbours, had 
severer sentences than mine to undergo, and I could not 
have borne to leave them behind. We should have needed 
a considerable sum of money, which I had not at com- 
mand ; and then, besides, I should have had this man on 
my hands for the rest of our lives. All this led me to 
decline his offer. 

Meanwhile, my companions had a plan of their own for 
breaking through the wall and so getting free, and although 
they had kept their preparations carefully secret, Smirnov 
got an inkling of them. 

"Do you think I don't know your comrades want to 
get out ? " he said to me one day. " Only tell them to 
manage so that I don't get into trouble. 1 shan't betray 

I promised him he should not be let in for anything, 
and told my comrades ; but they very soon saw their plan 
was not feasible, and gave it up. We had no reason to fear 
that this man would tell tales of us, he was too much in 
our hands ; but on one occasion I forced him to give 
information to the authorities, as I will now relate. 

It had come to our knowledge that the ordinary 
criminals in this prison managed to disembarrass them- 
selves of their fetters, not only at night, but through the 
day, and that this was winked at by the officials. I 
therefore resolved to follow their example, and get rid of 
my chains, but openly, not in secret. 

" Smirnov," I said, " bring me a hammer and a nail." 

" What do you want them for ? " 

" You shall see directly." 

He did as I told him ; I stepped on to the iron landing, 
and in his presence broke the rivets of my fetters. 


"What are you doing?" cried Smirnov. " I shall have to 
pay for that ! " 

" Not a bit. Go at once and tell the governor I have 
broken my fetters." 

" But I can't go and denounce you ! " 

" Don't be silly," said I ; " do as I say." 

He went, protesting and shaking his head, and soon 
after called me to go before the governor. I fastened up 
my chains with twine in place of the rivets, and followed 

"What's all this? "cried the old man in great excite- 
ment. " You've broken your fetters ? You are trying to 
make your escape?" 

And he raised his hands in horror at this shocking 

" On the contrary," replied I. " If I were in your place 
1 should feel reassured about that, if a prisoner broke his 
chains openly." 

" I don't know what you mean," said the governor ; 
" this is a serious business." 

" If I were contemplating flight," continued I, " I should 
not break my fetters in the presence of the inspector, but 
should carefully keep quiet about it. I merely wanted to 
get rid of a perfectly unnecessary inconvenience, that 
worries me day and night." 

" That's all very well," observed the governor, " but you 
can't expect me to give you permission to take them off 
as you please in this fashion ! " 

" You needn't give me permission," I returned. " You 
need only behave as if you know nothing about the 
matter, and consider everything to be ' in good order,' as 
you say in your reports." 

" That's a nice suggestion ! " said the old governor, 
amused and half relenting. " But what do you suppose 
my superiors would think of it ? " 

" Unless you tell them, I don't see that they will ever 
have cause to think about it," I replied. " It will never 

і2б MOSCOW [скар. 

occur to the Governor of Moscow to examine whether my 
chains are fastened with rivets or with string." 

"Then if an inspection is made you will be wearing 
your fetters ? " he asked, laughing. 

" Of course ! You see, Гѵе come to you in full dress," 
and I pointed to my tied-up chains. 

We parted quite amicably; and I took it that informal 
permission not to wear our fetters had been conceded. 
It was not so easy to get dispensation from having our 
heads shaved ; yet that we also achieved. According to 
rule, half the head should have been shaved every month ; 
and there was no getting out of this save by a downright 
refusal to submit. This we accordingly made ; and the 
barber reported it to the governor, who sent for us to come 
to him singly. 

"What do you want me to do now?" said the good- 
humoured old man to me. 

" Simply to report to the Governor of Moscow that such 
and such prisoners refuse to let their heads be shaved, and 
declare that they will offer determined resistance if forced. 
We have nothing against you," I continued, " but this is 
our only way of appealing publicly against barbarous 
and humiliating usage." 

Whether he transmitted our protest I do not know ; but 
anyhow, we were not again asked to undergo this degrading 
process until the end of our stay in this prison. 

Russian prison regulations provide that prisoners be- 
longing to the different categories shall be treated 
differently: the "administrative exiles" less severely than 
those banished to Siberia after a regular trial ; and the 
latter again somewhat better than those condemned to 
penal servitude. But by the end of a month or two we 
had so contrived that this gradation was no longer 
apparent. We hard-labour prisoners only differed from 
the other " politicals " in having to wear the convict dress, 
and in not being allowed — as they were — to see our ladies, 


who were imprisoned in their own special tower. These 
interviews were only permitted to them when those who 
wished to meet were related, married, or betrothed to each 
other. But this was soon arranged. Various couples had 
an understanding on the subject, and addressed simul- 
taneous petitions to the Governor of Moscow, asking to be 
allowed interviews with each other, as they were betrothed. 
In most cases this was a purely fictitious engagement, as 
the staff very well knew, and was only designed to vary 
the monotony of prison life ; but not seldom the pretence 
led to a veritable attachment, as may easily be imagined. 
These were mostly young people of from eighteen to 
eight-and-twenty, and the nature of their surroundings 
shed a romantic glamour over their intercourse. The 
young pair met in the office of the prison, a dreary 
apartment with grated windows ; and every word was 
listened to by an official. Prison life lent a poetical 
and spiritualised expression to their features, and there 
was much to awaken mutual interest and compassion. 
Sometimes this affection remained purely platonic ; but in 
some cases an actual wedding was the upshot. Of course, 
in the latter event the young couple received the hearty 
sympathy of all their comrades, who also had personal 
reasons for rejoicing. The ceremony always took place 
in the prison chapel, and was a great occasion which 
pleasantly varied our dull existence. 

Prisoners were allowed at intervals to receive visitors 
from outside. These also must be near relations, and often 
other friends and acquaintances gave themselves out as 
betrothed to such and such a prisoner in order to be 
allowed entry. It occasionally happened in this way that 
an awkward situation came about, if a young man or a 
girl appeared to be betrothed to two or more different 
people ; but the solution was generally a satisfactory one 
in the end. 

These visits were received in the office to which we had 
first been introduced, but the room on these occasions 

128 MOSCOW [chap. 

took on a very different appearance. The old captain sat 
in his place busy with his ledgers. By the door stood the 
inspector in full uniform, with revolver and cartridge-bag 
at his waist and his long sabre at his side ; and round the 
walls would be grouped the prisoners with their visitors. 
The dim light falling through the grated windows shone 
on many a characteristic scene. All classes and ages 
were represented — young and old, men, women, and even 
children. Here would be a doctor or lawyer accompanied 
by his wife talking to their brother, a banished student. 
There an old peasant-woman, who had made the long 
journey by the Volga from some distant province to bid 
good-bye to her favourite son, would tell him the village 
news or bitterly lament her difficulty in living now he had 
been taken from her. Close by, the scions of a noble race 
— Prince Volhonsky and his princess — would be chatting 
with Malyovany, his uncle ; or Senator Shtshulepnikov 
would sermonise his young daughter for having allowed 
herself to be drawn into the revolutionary movement, 
whereby she had now to suffer the penalty of exile to 
Siberia. All around would be the babble of voices — con- 
dolences, arguments, gossip, even jokes. One woman 
would furtively wipe away a tear as she bowed a grief- 
stricken head ; while another would break into uncontrol- 
lable sobbing, because the sight of some beloved face now 
pale and haggard from long confinement and anxiety had 
robbed her of self-command. As everywhere else through- 
out the world, laughter and weeping, hope and despair, 
went side by side ; only here in prison emotion is more 
openly avowed, ceremony more easily dispensed with, and 
franker expression given to the feelings. Those who here 
sought out their friends or relatives speedily got acquainted 
with one another and with all the prisoners whom they 
were accustomed to see. Among the "politicals," as 
Socialists, there are no distinctions of rank or privilege; and 
the prison atmosphere soon exercised its levelling influence 
on all, and bound together members of every class with 


the common tie of sorrow and sympathy. Once only was 
the rule broken, and the announcement of a visitor's name 
and position fixed all eyes upon him. 

A grey-headed man in the garb of the Russian lower 
middle-class— a long kaftan and broad girdle — had entered 
the room. 

" Whom do you want ? " asked the captain, looking up 
from his books. 

" I should like to speak to a person whom you have 
here in the prison. Lazarev is his name," replied the 

" Have you a permit ? " 

" Certainly, certainly ; here it is," said the man in the 
kaftan, and held out the paper. 

The captain settled his glasses and read. Suddenly up 
he jumped as if he had had a blow, and began to stammer 
out a thousand apologies. " Pray sit down, Count ! I 
really did not recognise you ! " And then to the inspector, 
" Hi, Ivanov ! " he cried, " tell them to send Lazarev. The 
Count wants to see him." 

The whole prison seemed waked up. Bells were rung, 
and people ran about calling out : " Lazarev ! Send 
Lazarev ! Count Leo Tolstoi has come to see him ! " 

Yegor Lazarev, a peasant by birth, a very intelligent 
and well-educated man, was from Count Tolstoi's district. 
He was to be sent to Eastern Siberia by administrative 
order for a term of three years, simply because he, being 
a lawyer, had defended his poorer neighbours of the village 
in various cases of exaction by officials. 



ДТ the time of which I am writing the reactionary 
J~\ policy of the new Tsar was already clearly indicated. 
Four years had passed since the accession of Alexander III., 
and signs of his domestic policy were visible in frequent 
death-sentences, favouring of Anti-Semitism (which had 
sprung up in various towns in south-west Russia), the 
appointment of the universally detested Count Dmitri 
Tolstoi as Minister of the Interior, the institution of new 
regulations at the Universities, not only for students, but 
for professors, and so on. In spite of all this there were 
still some incurable optimists who hoped this might prove 
but a brief transition period, soon to be followed by radical 
reforms ; they even anticipated the granting of a Con- 
stitution to the country. I remember well how various 
educated people — lawyers, physicians, etc. — would, when 
conversing with us, make hopeful prophecies : " You'll see, 
in five years we shall have the Constitution." 

Undoubtedly many of the younger revolutionists shared 
these hopes ; if not all, at any rate the majority believed 
that sooner or later the Terrorists would " remove " 
Alexander III., as they had his father, and that then, 
as a matter of course, " the Constitution must come." 
Some were so firmly convinced of this that when I 
ventured to express a doubt, bets were often offered me 
as to how few years would elapse before the great event 



came to pass. " Before we have reached our place of 
exile Alexander III. will be gone," declared many young 

This self-deception had one advantage in helping them 
to bear their fate and keep up their courage ; but these 
castles in the air were doomed to a speedy destruction. 
As I have said already, the Narbdnaia Vblya was nearing 
its collapse, and the Terrorists were now scarcely any real 
menace to the Government. The original trusted leaders 
of the society were either dead or languishing in prison, 
and their successors showed none of the capacity needed 
to carry on a conspiracy of that sort ; while, on the other 
hand, the police had learnt much, knew better how to 
spread their nets, and left the young conspirators no time 
to develop their powers. The untried and unskilfully 
managed societies were run to earth before they could 
undertake anything definite, and the unity and interde- 
pendence that characterised the original band of members 

In 1884 various fractions of the society came to life 
again. There was the Young Narbdnaia Vblya, whose 
members carried on a sort of minor terrorism ; that is to 
say, they directed their daggers and bombs against the 
lesser officials, governors of gaols, agrarian and industrial 
employers, etc., holding that there should be an immediate 
forcible answer made to every act of tyranny by con- 
stituted authorities against the workers. There were the 
" Bombists," who swore by dynamite as the sole and 
only remedy ; the " Militarists," who thought a conspiracy 
within the army the best hope. Finally a group entirely 
new to Russia made its appearance — the Social Democrats, 
among whom I was numbered. 

In our prison at Moscow all these different views had 
their adherents, and naturally the liveliest discussions took 
place, though their course was always fairly peaceful. 
Notwithstanding all our differences of opinion, we formed 
together a sort of big family, in which there was absolutely 

132 MOSCOW [chap. 

no distinction of high or low, rich or poor. All were 
equal, all shared alike. 

The prison food was beneath criticism ; even the most 
robust at their hungriest could scarcely swallow a spoon- 
ful of the repulsive malodorous broth in wooden bowls 
brought to our cells at midday. This is explained by 
the fact that the sum originally provided by Govern- 
ment for our maintenance was extremely small ; and on 
its way through to us a great part of it found its 
way into the bottomless pockets of officials great and 
small, among whom there is an organised system of 
general peculation. The big cauldrons used for cooking 
the food of several thousand prisoners were filled up 
with the worst materials that were procurable ; and we 
" politicals," after a very few specimens of it, decided 
to feed at our own expense. So we founded a com- 
missariat union, and elected as chief, to whose care 
our domestic economy should be entrusted, Lazarev, the 
peasant-lawyer, whom Tolstoi had visited. All the money 
that we had at command — either what had been given in 
keeping to the prison authorities on our arrival or what 
was sent us by friends and relations — was handed over 
to our chief of commissariat, and he had to arrange our 
dietary so that all should share alike. In the morning 
we had tea, milk, and bread ad libitum. For dinner at 
midday we had a meal — generally of two courses — pre- 
pared from the provisions in our larder by one of the 
ordinary criminals hired by us as cook. In the evening 
there was tea and bread again. Nobody could say that 
our table was exactly luxurious ; but then our means 
were extremely limited. Our poor housekeeper had often 
to rack his brains over the problem of making both ends 
meet ; and he at last hit on the expedient of buying 
horse-flesh for us. Beef was cheap enough — ten kopecks 
(about 2%d.) a pound, if I remember rightly ; but horse- 
flesh came to only about half that price, and we agreed 
to try it. It proved quite eatable, if somewhat tough and 


tasteless ; but two or three among us were dainty, and 
declared that the meat gave them indigestion, and they 
could not stand it. As the rest of us believed this to be 
pure imagination, and simply the result of prejudice, our 
"chief" determined to use a little art. He suggested that 
he might buy beef for these " invalids " ; but he really just 
had some of the horse-flesh cooked up a little differently 
from the rest, and set it before them. The result was 
excellent ; our epicures much relished their " beefsteak," 
and declared it made them feel sick to see us eating horse ; 
while we had some trouble in keeping our faces straight ! 
This lasted the whole time of our stay in Moscow, and not 
one of our gourmands ever once complained of indigestion 
again ! When afterwards we let out that for months they 
had eaten and enjoyed horse-flesh, of course they were 
furious, and asserted — to the common amusement of the 
others — that they had always thought the meat had a 
queer taste. 

Besides our own friends there were many people person- 
ally unknown to us who cared for our material needs, I 
mean the members of the " Red Cross of the Revolution," 
of which mention has been made in an earlier chapter 
as the "old clothes society." These were chiefly women, 
who undertook with much zeal the small but very 
charitable and indispensable task of providing for the 
political prisoners and exiles. Many a one, left deserted 
in the world, had reason to value the unselfish activity of 
these good Samaritans. Often enough have I seen the 
grateful emotion of some lonely soul, when the strange 
hand of a kind woman — one of the society's members — 
bestowed on him cheerfully some useful and hardly spared 
article. Our little company in the prison of Moscow 
seems to have come off particularly well in this way. 
Long before the commencement of the journey to Siberia 
our benefactresses warned us to let them have a list of 
what we should be needing for our travels. When it is 

134 MOSCOW [chap. 

remembered that we were over fifty persons, and that 
before many of us lay a journey of more than half a year, 
it is evident how much opportunity there was for the 
thoughtful and minute care of these noble women. There 
were hundreds of little things wanted that gave them not 
only time and trouble, but personal inconvenience to 
procure ; and their self-sacrificing exertions to lighten the 
lot of the captives were infinitely touching. 

Easter and Christmas are special feast days in Russia. 
The Russian revolutionists have definitely renounced all 
religious creeds, and there are many among them who in 
any case would have nothing to do with the Orthodox 
Russian Church — Jews, Germans, Poles, etc. Nevertheless, 
those in prison or in places of banishment always take 
part whenever possible in the common festivals of the 
people ; and these days of rejoicing are doubly welcomed 
when they come to break the dreary routine of prison-life. 
Relations, friends, and the Red Cross ladies send food 
and even dainties to the prisons, and the inmates hold 
high revel. In the Moscow prison we had a specially 
merry time on Easter Eve. We had petitioned the 
Governor of Moscow for leave to pass the night before 
Easter together, according to Russian custom. This was 
conceded ; and we all, including the women, assembled in 
the quarters of the " administratives," where the rooms are 
large, because the prisoners are there grouped together, 
not confined in single cells. All manner of good things 
had been sent us — Easter cakes, eggs, hams, poultry, and 
all that is customary, including some bottles of light wine 
and beer — so that our Easter table was a magnificent 
sight. 1 Under the superintendence of the old governor 
and his staff we spent the evening and half the night in a 
merry fashion not often witnessed in a prison. Songs 

1 In Russia it is the custom at Easter in every house to spread a large 
table with cold dishes of all descriptions, and the master of the house invites 
every visitor to partake of the feast, which they are bound to do, eating and 
drinking standing. This "Easter table'' is kept going throughout the 
festival time. — Trans. 


were sung, there were jokes and laughter ; finally a 
harmonica appeared, and the young people began to 
dance. Yet, despite so much hearty and unfeigned cheer- 
fulness, not one of us could forget our real condition ; 
indeed, the very sight of gaiety brought to the minds of 
many of us remembrance of home, where our dear ones 
were at this moment celebrating the feast-day, though 
with many sad thoughts of the absent. 

For us hard-labour men this was the first chance we had 
had of getting to know our women fellow-prisoners. The 
" administratives " met them not only in visiting hours, but 
in the courtyard, although the latter was supposed to be 
against rules. Those condemned to hard labour, on the 
contrary, were not admitted to the visitors' room. After 
this Easter festival, however, even we " deprived of all 
rights " managed to break through the regulations. Under 
the pretext that we had some business in the office we 
had ourselves conducted across the big yard, and the 
warder left us at the door, supposing we should go straight 
on down the corridor. Instead of that we raced across the 
courtyard to the door of the women's quarters. The 
flustered warder came tearing after us, calling us back ; 
but we had reached our goal, our ladies were at their door, 
and we could exchange a few friendly words with them. 
Of course, this was only a defiant frolic ; we took pleasure 
in trampling on the hated prison rules, and the authori- 
ties saw nothing very wicked in it. The prohibition of 
meeting had no sense in it whatever, as in a few weeks' 
time all the " politicals " were to travel in company to- 
gether to Siberia. In this, as in many other cases, we 
were unnecessarily thwarted, simply because in paragraph 
so-and-so of the regulations this or that is forbidden. 

These regulations are not nearly so strictly kept as 
regards the ordinary criminals, who are often allowed to 
wander all about a Russian prison without supervision, and 
manage to get admitted even to the women's quarters. 
Moreover, it not infrequently happens that a criminal who 

іЗб MOSCOW [chap. 

has money at his disposal is allowed by the warders and 
overseers to be out all night in the town, where he amuses 
himself or goes about his own business. So far as the 
treatment of prisoners goes, we " politicals " are only too 
glad to be put on the footing of " common criminals " ; 
which but seldom happens to us, however. Yet in one 
respect the " politicals " have an advantage — I mean in the 
demeanour of the prison staff towards them. Every 
official, high or low, knows well that he cannot go beyond 
a certain point with them, and that he must behave with 
courtesy. This unwritten law arose from the fact that for 
generations the " politicals" belonged exclusively to the 
educated and privileged classes, and also from their proud 
conviction that they have only acted according to the 
dictates of reason and conscience, which upholds them in 
the firm feeling of innocence, and makes them fiercely 
jealous for the preservation of both their own self-respect 
and their dignity in the eyes of others. If any official 
ventures to ignore this sentiment he may count on ener- 
getic protest, and in such cases the prison is often the 
scene of a bitter conflict that may lead to tragic results. 
As a slight example I may relate the following incident. 

A certain great personage had come from Petersburg — 
Galkin Vrassky, the head of the controlling department 
for all Russian prisons. His position demanded the 
deepest awe and subservience from all minor officials, and * 
he himself was fully conscious of his power and bore him- 
self accordingly. He was a Privy Counsellor and ex- 
tremely pompous. Before his promised visit to our prison 
we had heard that it was this gentleman's custom not 
to uncover his head when entering the cells, but to keep 
his hat on all the time. We instantly agreed together that 
if he behaved so here, the first of us whose cell he visited 
should teach him a lesson in manners. 

Galkin Vrassky came, attended by an imposing suite, 
and accompanied by — among others — Prince Galitzin, the 
Vice-Governor of Moscow. He began his rounds with 


our Pugatchev Tower, and went first to the cell of Peter 
Dashkievitch. Dashkievitch had been a theological 
student ; he was a man of very calm but unyielding 
temperament, and permeated to an uncommon degree 
with the instinct of justice and fairness. It was now 
incumbent on him to beard this haughty official, who had 
scarcely begun the stereotyped question — " Have you any 
complaints to make ? " — when Dashkievitch interrupted 
him, saying quietly : " It is very impolite of you, sir, to 
enter my apartment without removing your hat." 

Galkin Vrassky reddened to the roots of his hair, 
turned on his heel and left the cell, the whole company 
following him in silence. 

"In what case was he condemned?" we heard him ask, 
as he stood on the landing. 

"In the Kiev trial," someone answered. 

"Aha, one of those fellows who made trouble in the 
prison over there ! " he said in a satisfied tone. 

He visited the rest of us, holding his hat in his hand 
most politely, but he did not forget to revenge himself 
on Dashkievitch after his own fashion. 

Dashkievitch' s sentence had been "banishment to the 
less distant provinces of Siberia," a fairly mild punish- 
ment ; but Vrassky now ordered his transportation to the 
furthest wilds of the country, and he was sent to Tunka, 
on the borders of Mongolia. 



THE spring of 1885 came, and we began to make 
ready for our long journey. At the outset arose the 
very important question, what luggage could we take? 
The rules prescribed that those "deprived of all rights" 
should not have more than 25 lbs. in weight. The 
equipment provided by Government weighed that by itself; 
so that all our own belongings would have to be aban- 
doned, including books, of course. This would have been 
a severe loss, for in Moscow our private library had grown 
considerably. Count Tolstoi had given us an edition of 
his collected works in twelve volumes, and also a History 
of Russia in twenty-nine volumes. Happily, however, the 
authorities decided that only the gross weight of the 
lugg a g e should be counted for the whole detachment of 
exiles ; so that as the " administratives " were allowed 
5 pood (about 180 lbs.) apiece, and many of them had but 
few possessions, we managed to get our books in. 

As everything we possessed had been through the hands 
of the officials, of course there was no forbidden literature 
in our library ; nevertheless we were told to submit it 
all anew to inspection, and in the course of this the ap- 
pointed censor had opportunities for exhibiting to our 
delighted gaze his special qualifications for the post. He 
was a high official, and had graduated in jurisprudence at 



Petersburg. Our friend Rubinok turned to him with the 
question whether he might take Karl Marx's Capital with 

" Why, how can you take somebody else's capital with 
you ? " asked our censor in a surprised tone. 

" It is my own," said Rubinok, not comprehending. 

" Well, if it is your own, of course you can take it," was 
the reply, "only you must hand it over to the officer 
commanding the convoy, who takes charge of all money." 

We, who saw the joke, had great difficulty in repressing 
our mirth at the idea of Rublnok's running off with the 
apparently unknown Karl Marx's property ! 

When the time of departure drew nigh the idea was 
mooted of giving some substantial testimonial to the 
worthy old Captain Maltchevsky, our governor. He 
learned with pleasure of the project, but begged us not to 
spend on him any of the little money we possessed, as 
we should need it on our long journey. I forget whether 
in the end any present was actually bought or not. At 
all events, the old gentleman was a great exception among 
his kind. I have only known one other instance of 
" politicals " desiring to testify their gratitude to a prison 
governor in such a manner. Yet an event happened at 
the last moment which changed our hitherto friendly 
feeling for Captain Maltchevsky into resentment and dis- 

During- the whole eight months of our sojourn in 
Moscow we had been on a perfectly amicable footing with 
the prison staff. Our independent proceeding in discarding 
our fetters and our revolt against head-shaving had been 
silently condoned at the time ; but it was just these two 
points that led to a rupture of relations on the day of our 
departure. We were informed that we must now submit 
to the head-shaving and chain-riveting processes, because 
the officer who was to command our convoy insisted on it. 
We roundly refused to comply ; and the " administratives," 


who were themselves exempt from the proceeding, declared 
their intention of supporting us in our resolve. 

The hour for mustering the party arrived. We deter- 
mined to keep together, and on no account to go singly 
into the office for our enrolment, The staff saw at once 
that any attempt to use force would lead to a row ; so 
they resolved to outwit us. We were given to understand 
that the idea of subjecting us to the barbarous proceeding 
had been thought better of, and we were committed to the 
charge of the convoy officer. The party was almost ready 
to start, when we three " hard-labour men " were suddenly 
told that if we liked we could get a medical certificate 
from the doctor to excuse us from travelling on foot when 
we reached Siberia, as those condemned to penal servitude 
were supposed to do. We said we were quite willing to be 
examined for this purpose ; but scarcely were we separated 
from our companions than a party of warders hidden 
behind the door surrounded us. We saw immediately that 
we had fallen into a trap, and determined to resist to our 
utmost. We kept close together, and struck out with feet 
and fists when the warders advanced on us ; but, of course, 
we were ultimately overpowered by their superior numbers. 
We were dragged away and each held forcibly down on 
a bench while the barber shaved the half of our heads and 
the blacksmith riveted on our fetters. Captain Malt- 
chevsky stood by the while and gave the orders. This 
performance of his was enough to alter our sentiments 
towards him, and our parting was distinctly cool. 

Our journey began on a beautiful morning in the middle 
of May when spring had just made its appearance in 
Moscow. The sunshine was bright and warm, and the 
scent of spring was in the air. Our mood was by no 
means in consonance with this aspect of outward things ; 
but most of us elected to go on foot to the station. 
Our procession must have been an odd sight. Convicts 
with fettered feet and grey prison garb marched along 


beside other men and women in ordinary clothes. Most 
of us were quite young ; few had reached middle-age. 
Of the twelve women in our party three were voluntarily 
accompanying their husbands to Siberia. 

The last violent scene had depressed us all, and we 
traversed in silence the quieter streets of Moscow, where 
the few passers-by paused to look at us, and here and 
there faces stared from the windows. The station, which 
we reached after a short tramp, had been cleared of people ; 
only some gendarmes, prison officials, and porters were on 
the platform. Police were keeping guard all round, and 
nobody who had not a special order was allowed through 
to the train reserved for us. When we " politicals " were 
established in the places assigned to us, a few persons — 
relations of the prisoners — arrived to say good-bye. The 
gendarmes would not let them come near to the carriages, 
and we had to shout our farewell greetings. 

" Good-bye ! Good luck ! Don't forget us ! ' sounded 
from the barred windows. 

" Keep up your courage ! We'll meet again soon ! " 
came back the response. 

" Let us sing something together," called out somebody. 
We had formed a choral society in prison, and now started 
a song of Little Russia — " The Ferryman." Slowly the 
train was set in motion, and as we glided away the affect- 
ing strains of the beautiful melody accompanied us. Many 
could not restrain their tears, and sobs were heard which 
the rattle of the train soon drowned. With faces pressed 
against the bars of the windows we gazed back at Moscow 
as long as it could be seen. Then came the outskirts, 
and then our eyes were refreshed by the sight of broad 

When we halted at the next station there were a good 
many people on the platform — peasants and workmen. 
Many of them came up to the carriage windows un- 
hindered, and seemed to be offering things to us. 

" Here, take it, in the Virgin's name ! " said a voice close 


by me. I looked out, and was aware of an old peasant 
woman who held out a kopeck 1 to me. 

" I don't need it, mother ; give it to someone who does," 
I said ; and felt my heart warm towards this kindly old 
woman of the people. 

" Take it, take it, my dear ! " she insisted. 

" Well, as a remembrance, then." I agreed ; and I kept 
the little copper coin for a long time before I eventually 
lost it. 

A whole chain of recollections was started in my mind 
by this occurrence, and I sank deep in thought. The 
further we went from Moscow, the sadder became my 
spirits ; I felt as if I were leaving behind me there a host 
of friends I should never see again. I did not want to 
talk to anyone, but gazed silently out of the window. The 
line ran through a factory district ; the stations were 
crowded, and along the railway banks we saw many 
groups of workpeople. Men and women in brightly 
coloured cotton garments stopped and called out after 
the train, making expressive gestures. Whether they 
knew us for exiles on our way to Siberia and meant to 
send us a message of sympathy I cannot tell. Perhaps it 
is the custom in that countryside, whence many prisoners 
are transported, to express in this way that feeling of com- 
passion towards the " children of misfortune " 2 so common 
among the Russian people. 

On the following morning we arrived at Nijni Novgorod, 
whence we were to journey by boat to Perm, by the Volga 
and its tributary the Kama. Our party attracted much 
attention both at the station and on the way to the quay. 
The married and betrothed couples walked in front, arm 
in arm, and the rest of us followed, the escort surrounding 
us all. Two large cabins, one for the men and one for the 
women, were assigned to us on the big barge, which was 

1 Value one farthing. — Trans. 

2 By this name the common people throughout Russia and Siberia desig- 
nate all prisoners. 

xvi] ON THE VOLGA 143 

taken in tow by a river steamer. Here we were rather 
comfortably lodged, and we were all in common allowed 
free access to the roomy deck, which was enclosed by iron 
netting at the sides and overhead. Food we provided for 
ourselves, and on that head had nothing to complain of, 
thanks to the kindness of our friends and to the provident 
care of Lazarev, our elected chief or starosta. 

The voyage lasted some days ; the weather was uninter- 
ruptedly fine ; and we sat on deck from early morning till 
late evening, revelling in the charming scenes which passed 
before our eyes, on this giant among European rivers and 
on its tributary stream. Especially lovely was it towards 
sunset, when our choir, which boasted some exceptionally 
fine voices, would sing our favourite songs. As one sat, 
with head supported against the iron netting, and eyes 
following the shining ripples lit by exquisite fairy-like tints, 
the impression made on one by those beautiful sad songs 
was never to be forgotten. Gradually the colour would 
fade from the sky, and the stars shine down from a cloud- 
less heaven, to be mirrored in the glassy surface of the 
great river ; and everything around me — the river, the 
stars, the songs — would recall to my mind another royal 
stream, the mighty Dnieper, by whose banks my childhood 
had been spent. 

"What are you thinking of? Why are you so sad?" 
on one such evening a young "administrative" asked me. 
She was a girl of about twenty, with whom I had become 
acquainted during the journey. We were soon engaged in 
intimate and friendly talk. She could understand my mood, 
and sympathised heartily. She was an unusually interesting 
creature of peculiar and, some might say, eccentric charac- 
ter, but of keen intelligence. She told me how she had 
come to adopt the principles of Socialism, and what kind 
of life she had quitted to join the revolutionary movement. 
Like so many others at that time, she had been possessed 
by the longing to do something for the people — the 


peasants. Where and how to begin she did not know, and 
she could find no one to advise her. She tried to discover 
some way for herself, and read everything she could get 
hold of that bore on the subject. At last, against her 
parents' wishes, she left her home in South Russia for 
Petersburg, where she hoped to find someone who could 
help her. In the course of her quest, and before she had 
arrived at any definite solution of the problems that per- 
plexed her, she was arrested, and was now being sent to 
Siberia for three years' banishment. Like hundreds of 
others, this noble-hearted girl had expended her strength 
and sacrificed her happiness to no purpose, without benefit 
to others, without attaining her own peace of mind ; a 
victim to the cramping and illiberal political conditions 
that reign in our native land. She died by her own hand 
in Siberia some time after this. 

From Perm we were taken by rail to Ekaterinburg, 
where we arrived after a wearisome day's journey. Here 
we spent the night ; and next day our party, consisting 
entirely of " politicals " with their escort, was to drive to 
Tiumen, the first town within the borders of Siberia. The 
construction of the Siberian railway was only just being 
begun, and the journey — now very simple — was then 
attended by all manner of difficulties. 

At the outset we had a disagreement with the authorities 
that might have had serious consequences. A number of 
troikas 1 had been provided for the transportation of our- 
selves, our escort, and the luggage ; in each of them four 
prisoners and two soldiers were to go, which, with the 
driver, made seven persons. The younger members of our 
party thought this too many, and appealed to the officer, 
Captain Volkov, who had accompanied us from Moscow 
(and with whom I had previously travelled from Kiev), to 
arrange that only three of us and two soldiers should go in 

1 Carriages with three horses harnessed abreast in a peculiar manner, the 
two outside facing somewhat outwards. The middle horse is trained to trot 
very fast, and the two outside ones to canter. — Trans. 

xvi] A DISPUTE 145 

each carriage, or, if he preferred, four of us and only one 
soldier. As there were not enough carriages for this 
arrangement the captain refused the request ; and our 
young Hotspurs flatly swore that they would not get in. 
In other words, they would oblige the soldiers to use force 
with them, and that would naturally lead to a battle, the 
results of which might be very unpleasant. The ispravnik x 
appeared, and declared that he could not hire any more 
carriages, as this number had been specially ordered by his 
chief. There was much arguing up and down, during 
which several of the young men and two of the women 
got very angry. We elders, on the contrary, thought the 
matter not sufficiently important to warrant a conflict 
which might well result in the despatch of the " adminis- 
trates " to distant stations for increased periods of exile, 
and of ourselves perhaps to Schltisselburg. 

" I beg you to get into the carriages," urged Volkov ; 
and the ispravnik joined in his persuasions. 

" No, we will not. Use force if you like ! " cried voices 
from our midst. 

"We shall have to report you as refusing to obey 

" Do as you please ! " was the answer. 

It is absolutely against the rules of our societies not to 
stand by each other in all dealings with the authorities, 
whatever the occasion. Despite the fact that the majority 
among us saw no ground for persisting in this revolt, we 
were at the mercy of the hot-headed youngsters, and the 
situation was becoming strained. A struggle seemed 
inevitable ; but some of us had the happy idea of trying 
the practical experiment of fitting ourselves into one of 
the vehicles, to see whether the official arrangement were 
feasible or not. The trial was made, and it turned out 
that with a little goodwill it was quite possible to find 
room for seven persons in each troika. In face of this 
simple fact, the malcontents could hardly maintain their 

1 Head of the district police. — Trans. 


attitude ; so with a little further grumbling and delay they 
gave in. We had not gone far before each carriage was 
lightened of one passenger; the soldiers preferred to ride 
on the baggage- waggons, and only one was left to guard 
each four prisoners ; so we were more comfortable, and 
everything was peaceably settled. 

During the voyage on the Volga and Kama we had 
fallen into various groups of friends, who now naturally 
wished to keep together during the land journey. The 
idea suggested itself of giving our ladies the right to 
choose their cavaliers, and this plan found favour with the 
majority; but there were one or two who objected to any 
sort of " woman's privileges," and even some others who 
disliked travelling in female society, and declared them- 
selves hors de concours. These latter incorrigible mysogy- 
nists were, as may be supposed, the youngest among us. 

This travelling by troika has, as is well known, a special 
charm of its own. It can scarcely be called driving ; one 
flies and rushes along at a most exhilarating pace. On 
that side of the Ural Mountains spring was only just 
beginning ; everything was budding and sprouting, and 
the air was full of song and other happy sounds of 
young life. 

We flew along great stretches of the highway, raising 
enormous clouds of whirling dust. Our drivers cheered 
on their horses with cries and whistling, continually urging 
them to yet greater speed. At first we sat by fours in the 
carriages, generally two men and two women ; but soon 
we changed places at every halt, and then five or six 
people might be seen in one carriage, while only two 
would be left in another. Here there would be chatter, 
joking, and songs ; there, earnest quiet talk not to be 
overheard by the guards — words of far-reaching import 
being perhaps spoken in those whispered conferences. 
The intimate life in prison had brought many into close 
relations that had been strengthened during the long 
journey by rail and boat ; and the drive together now 











г- 1 









gave fresh opportunities for bringing the fellow-sufferers 
nearer to one another. 

Every day we left two stages behind us, each from fifty 
to sixty versts (about thirty-three to forty English miles), 
on which the horses were often only changed once, the 
change being made with lightning rapidity, as the fresh 
steeds were generally waiting ready harnessed for our 
hurrying procession. While the drivers were occupied 
over this business we usually made a hasty meal, buying 
provisions from the market-women waiting in the yard 
of the posting-station — hard-boiled eggs, milk, bread, etc. 
The halting-station (/tape) for the night we generally 
reached early, long before twilight set in. Here the first 
thing was to prepare our meal — dinner and supper in one ; 
that was the task of the stdrosta and some volunteer 
assistants. Afterwards we stayed out in the open air as 
long as possible. Songs were sung in chorus ; groups and 
couples wandered about in confidential talk ; or sometimes 
we held formal debates, of a very animated description. 

On one of the earliest days of our journey we made our 
first halt in the open, far from any posting-station. We 
all got out and stood before a boundary post ; it was that 
one so often described, of such sad renown, which bears 
in engraved letters the two words, " Europe," " Asia." 

It was now the beginning of June. A year and three 
months had gone by since my arrest in Freiburg, and 
I had now crossed the border between two continents. 
The sight of this landmark, passed by thousands driven 
into exile, brought thronging many gloomy thoughts. I 
had passed fifteen months in German and Russian gaols. 
" How many years have I now to linger in a Siberian 
prison ? " I asked myself. " Shall I ever see this sign- 
post again on a return journey? or shall I find my grave 
over yonder in Siberia ? " 




THE town of Tiumen was at that time noted for the 
disputes that were continually arising between the 
political exiles and the authorities. We dreaded lest our 
party might be obliged to sustain a battle of this sort, 
the causes of which were known to us of old from the 
letters of various comrades ; so we had intended to 
arrange together betimes how we should behave under 
given circumstances, what we must insist on, and in what 
manner we should conduct our dealings with the powers 
above us. But it was so difficult to get any orderly dis- 
cussion during the journey, that after all we reached 
Tiumen without having made any definite plan of action. 
Tiumen was then the place whence exiles took their 
several ways according to their ultimate destination. Our 
party was to separate here, some going south-west, others 
north-east. Among the latter were the hard - labour 
prisoners, the judicially banished exiles, and some of the 
" administratives." Except us convicts none knew to what 
town or village they were bound ; they did not even know 
whether they were to go north or south from Tiumen. 
Now, the difference in climate which this might mean, 
even if between places in the same province of Siberia 
could be greater than between Norway and Italy. The 
anxiety of the "administratives" in awaiting a decision 
can be imagined, as so much depended for them on the 
direction in which they were to be taken. 



At the very gates of the prison we were within an ace of 
a squabble with the officials ; they wanted to take our 
ladies to a female prison far away from ours. We opposed 
this, because such a separation would have upset all our 
feeding arrangements, besides being otherwise very un- 
welcome to us all, and the officials finally yielded to our 

We were only to remain for a few days in Tiumen, so 
our chief subject for anxiety was soon settled ; most of the 
" administratives " were bound for the Steppes Govern- 
ment, and would be sent to the southern part of the 
province of Tobolsk — a relatively pleasant neighbourhood. 
But we were informed at the same time that they would 
travel by way of the etappuy, or convoy-stations, which 
would be by no means pleasant. To be taken by that 
route, i.e. by land, means a journey of some weeks under 
most uncomfortable conditions, and with all manner of 
hardships that can perfectly well be avoided by the adop- 
tion of the route by water, on either barge or steamboat. 
The choice of this wearisome route has been a frequent 
source of trouble with the parties of " politicals." The 
officials, therefore, were quite accustomed to protests on 
the subject ; but either on grounds of convenience, or for 
some other reason not vouchsafed to us, they stuck to 
their proposed arrangement. Our friends who were to go 
southward resolved to keep up all possible opposition, and 
we all agreed to support what we considered their per- 
fectly reasonable attitude. We held heated consultations, 
and ultimately it was decided to send a telegram to the 
governor of the province, petitioning him that the journey 
of the " administratives " should be made by boat. 

The appointed day of departure arrived, and the " ad- 
ministratives " were sent for to go singly into the office, 
but we others would not allow them to leave the prison. 
If the staff had resorted to force there would undoubtedly 
have been a serious struggle, but all passed off quietly, as 
they gave in for the time being ; only, however, to lay 


a trap for us later. Instead of answering our telegram by 
another, the governor appeared in person (of course, he 
may merely have come over by chance from Tobolsk) and 
examined into the affair. He then declared himself quite 
willing that our comrades should travel by boat, according 
to our request ; and this promise, given by the highest 
available authority, was sufficient for us, our minds were 
forthwith at rest. But unfortunately, as will appear here- 
after, the highest authority had simply lied to us. 

Soon after this the parting came ; those of us going 
northward from Tobolsk and those bound for Eastern 
Siberia received orders to make ready for the start. There 
was a good deal to do, as a journey of some months was 
in question ; also our common housekeeping had to be 
wound up, the money and provisions divided among the 
different parties according to their respective needs and 
the distance they had to travel. Besides this, small sums 
were set apart for any " administratives " or other exiles 
who were unprovided with means, for use in emergency 
on their first arrival at their destinations. 

The parting was no light matter to us. During the next 
few days small groups and isolated couples would be seen 
wandering up and down the prison yard, deep in endless 
and engrossing talk. Most of us had first become ac- 
quainted in the Moscow prison or during the journey ; but 
apart from the more intimate friendships that had been 
formed among us, we had all been drawn very near to 
each other in the course of our half-year's sojourn under 
the same roof. Of course, in view of the separation many 
resolutions were made of keeping up friendships, and of 
never forgetting one another, whatever happened. Sad, 
sad, that external circumstances should too often prove 
stronger than the firmest resolutions, and even than the 
heart's desire ! After two or three years, with thousands 
of miles between, and every possible hindrance put in the 
way of correspondence, friends are gradually lost sight of, 
and the thought of them even passes from the mind. 

xvii] PARTINGS 151 

With how many of those comrades did I share the hope of 
one day meeting again ! Eighteen years have passed 
since then, and I have only seen one of them again. 

As to the subsequent lot of our " administratives," we 
learned later that, the party being a large one, the officials 
had declared themselves unable to carry out the arrange- 
ment expressly promised by the governor ; and as our 
comrades refused to go voluntarily by the land route, they 
were dragged forcibly by soldiers from the prison and 
packed into the carriages. Much rough usage ensued, but 
without any really serious result. We had been quieted 
by lies, because so long as we were all together the 
authorities had not dared to try conclusions with us by 

The detachment to which I belonged, which was to 
travel north-eastwards, consisted of flve-and -twenty per- 
sons : four condemned to penal servitude — Tchuikov, 
Spandoni, Maria Kalyushnaya, and myself; four judicially 
exiled — Vasiliev, Dashkievitch, and two ladies (Tchemo- 
danova and Shtchulepnikova) ; the rest all banished by 
administrative order — some to the north of Tobolsk 
Government, some to Eastern Siberia — among these latter 
being Маіубѵапу, Rubinok, and our chief of commissariat, 
Lazarev, who still fulfilled his old functions, our "house- 
keeping" arrangements continuing as before. 

From Tiumen we had to go by boat to Tomsk, our 
route being as follows : down the Tura, on whose banks 
Tiumen is situated, to its junction with the Tobol ; by the 
latter as far as the Irtisch, by which to the Obi ; and then 
up stream to the Tomi, on which Tomsk stands. This 
made a voyage of about 3,000 versts (about 2,000 miles), 
lasting at least fifteen days. As on the Volga, we were 
installed in the two cabins of a prisoners' barge, and a 
steamboat took our floating gaol in tow. This journey 
afforded little of interest. Although we were in mid- June 
there were as yet no signs of spring. Sometimes we passed 
masses of drifting ice ; the nights were extremely cold, 


and the sunshine gave no great heat by day. The rivers 
were in flood, and everything looked dead and deserted ; 
for miles round we could often discover no trace of human 
existence. The deathly stillness, the absence of any sign 
of growth at this awakening season of the year, the piercing 
cold, ever increasing as we got further north — all this had 
an uncanny and depressing effect. " Men and women live 
in these primeval forests and swamps {tundra)" I thought, 
with a shiver, and I pictured to myself how, after many 
years of prison had robbed me of strength and vitality, 
I should be given the " right " of residing in a similar, or 
perhaps a drearier locality ; even then not enjoying the 
liberty possessed by the unfortunate natives — Samoyedes 
and Ostiaks — who wander about these eternal woods and 

Our boat occasionally came to anchor, either to get wood 
for fuel, or at the two or three halting-stations provided. 
The Ostiaks would then come on board, paddling up in 
their wretched boats (yaliks) made of bark, and would 
offer fish for barter. They hardly seemed to understand 
the use of money, for when asked the price of a fish, they 
would only answer with the one word " roup," meaning 
" rouble," and would then gratefully accept a copper coin, 
though a piece of bread or a little tobacco would elicit 
much more joy. These people had a most pitiable appear- 
ance, and were treated with the utmost contempt by our 
boatmen and the soldiers, who usually addressed them all 
as " Vanka " (Johnny), which they accepted quite calmly. 
Sometimes we saw their huts in the distance, cone-shaped 
structures, the framework made of branches, the walls of 
birch-bark or reindeer skins. 

Except the capital town of Tobolsk, situated at the 
junction of the Tobol with the great Irtisch, throughout 
the length of some thousand versts we only passed two 
inhabited places dignified with the name of towns — Surgut 
and Narim. Here, and at Beresov, on the northern coast 
of the continent, some of our " administratives " were to 


take up their abode. We parted from them at Tobolsk. 
The conditions of life in some of these places of exile may- 
be guessed at from our glimpses of them. A " town " of 
this sort consists of some dozen wooden huts, the inhabit- 
ants of which are usually a mixed race, Russian and native. 
These people make out a livelihood with difficulty, sub- 
sisting almost exclusively on fish. An educated man must 
find existence in such a place unspeakably miserable ; yet 
the Russian Government sends even minors here. I know 
a young girl who at the age of seventeen was exiled to 
Beresov, and had to languish there for twelve years. 
Fortunately, none of the women in our company were 
destined for these waste places of the earth. 

When we began to go up the Obi there was scarcely 
any change of scene, but ever the same hopeless wastes. 
Our little company had much diminished ; our choir was 
disbanded ; and life on the barge was quiet and monoto- 
nous as we slowly glided on to Tomsk. 

This town, which counts as one of the liveliest in 
Siberia, only harboured at this time a very small number 
of political exiles. When we arrived, two of them came 
at once on to our barge, burning with curiosity to see who 
we were, and to have news from home; and they unex- 
pectedly found acquaintances among our party. One 
young lady I had known six years before ; she stared at 
me now, and would scarcely believe that the shorn convict 
was the same man she had known under such different 
circumstances. " You are so changed, so changed ! " she 
kept saying thoughtfully. 

The local prison authorities took us into their custody 
on the barge, when our identity had been established by a 
careful comparison of our appearance with the photographs 
in our record-books. We were then marched through the 
town to the prison. On the way two young girls, scarcely 
over school-age, suddenly broke through our escort of 
soldiers, and rushed upon us. The surprised soldiers tried 
to catch hold of the intruders and send them off, but that 


was not so easy. The girls ran like squirrels through our 
midst, announced themselves as the two sisters P., gave 
each of us a hasty kiss, and paid no attention to the calls of 
the officers and soldiers. Not till they had attained their 
end did they quit our ranks, and then they walked beside 
the procession, keeping us company to the prison gates. 

We stayed a week in Tomsk, and during that time made 
acquaintance with all the exiles there, as they were allowed 
to visit us in the prison. This prison in which we were 
lodged was composed of a few wooden buildings and some 
barracks. Every room was filled to overflowing, for there 
were about a thousand prisoners of all classes, but mostly 
criminals — young and old together. Like ourselves (for 
we were left fairly free here), they spent the whole day 
in the spacious yard. Until now we " politicals " had been 
entirely separate from the ordinary criminals, but hence- 
forward the convoy was composed of both classes, and 
I now learned to know the criminal world from personal 

One day as I strolled about the yard one of these men 
spoke to me. He was a powerful-looking fellow of about 
thirty, red-haired, and with well-marked features. He was 
evidently a dandy among the convicts. Beneath the long 
grey coat, which he wore thrown loosely over his shoulders, 
could be seen a white linen shirt adorned at the throat 
with a gay tie ; round his waist was wound a brightly 
coloured scarf, and to this his chains were cunningly 
attached, so that they made no noise whatever in walking. 
The leather protections beneath the ankle-rings were 
artistically fastened to look like the tops of his boots. 
A round cap pushed carelessly back on the side of his 
head was the crowning touch to his elegance, which the 
moustache, curling upward, finally completed. Everything 
denoted an aristocrat of criminal society. 

" How many years have you got ? " he asked after a 
polite greeting. And on my reply he continued, " And 
you mean to stay it out ? и 

хѵн] "SWOPS" 155 

" I can hardly do otherwise," I said. 

" That depends. If you like, we can arrange a ' swop.' " * 

I understood what he meant. In 1879 some political 
exiles — Vladimir Debagorio-Makrievitch, Paul Orlov, and 
V. Isbitsky — exchanged identities with three ordinary 
criminals, and got away. When this had become known, 
however, the authorities had at once taken stringent 
precautions against a repetition of the affair. The papers 
of political prisoners were most carefully made out and 
photographs attached ; they were sent by special convoy 
if moved from one place to another ; and besides this, 
each one was confided to the personal charge of one of 
the soldiers. But when I set all this before the man he 
was not in the least abashed. 

" Nonsense ! We can do it in spite of all their para- 
phernalia ! " 

I knew already from books and from the tales of com- 
rades that a peculiar organisation exists among the 
convicted criminals in Siberia, the principle of which is in 
a manner oligarchic. A small band of the more strong- 
willed and energetic gaol-birds governs the rest. They 
are called the " Ivans" ; they decide all matters relating to 
their " party," both in prison and en route, and institute 
their own rules quite independently of the recognised 

1 A * ' swop " is carried out in the following way. A convict under heavy 
sentence — of so many years' penal servitude, e.g. — takes an opportunity 
of exchanging personalities, so to speak, with one of the ordinary 
criminals who is simply being deported. A member of this class will under- 
take the business for a ridiculously small compensation. Then at the first 
station whence the exiles are to be despatched to their separate destination the 
supposed exile escapes, to wander about in Siberia, and, if lucky, find his 
way back to European Russia. The other who has taken his place reveals 
after a time his true character, and confesses that he exchanged with So-and- 
so at such and such a place. The matter is investigated, and the culprit 
receives a hundred lashes and a year's hard labour. It is generally the very 
lowest class of criminals who offer themselves as merchandise in these cases — 
wretched outcasts, who only receive a trifle— a few roubles, perhaps — as their 
share of the reward. The organisers of the traffic, the leaders of their artel 
(union), see to it that when once a prisoner undertakes a "swop" he sticks 
to his part. If he dare attempt to betray them he is simply murdered. 


authorities. The rank and file yield them slavish obedience, 
however unjust and terrible their orders may be. I saw at 
once that I had one of these tyrants before me. 

" I don't see how it could be done," said I ; and indeed, 
the difficulties appeared to me quite insurmountable. 

"Do you see that brook?" said the " Ivan." "Well, in 
the course of every year one or two corpses are found 
in that brook. We arrange a ' swop ' ; one of us changes 
with you, and the chief person concerned disappears down 
there. Do you understand ? " 

I could not quite see what he meant, and was horror- 
struck when he explained his plan, which was as follows : — 
I was to make the exchange before the warders got to 
know us " politicals " individually, and the man with whom 
I exchanged must be as like me as possible. Of course, 
when the " politicals " were to be sent on, their identity 
would first be inquired into ; but then it would only appear 
that Deutsch was missing. To accomplish this the " Ivan " 
would simply murder his companion who had taken my 
place, and throw his corpse into the stream. I should 
not be found ; or if my unfortunate substitute's body 
eventually came to light, it would be taken for granted 
that it was mine, and that I had committed suicide or 
been murdered. I myself, in the meantime, should be 
sent to the dead man's destination as an ordinary criminal, 
and could afterwards escape thence — not a difficult matter 
for that class of prisoner. For perpetrating this villainy 
the man only asked a mere trifle — twenty or thirty roubles 
— which blood-money he would have had to share with 
quite a number of accomplices. He assured me that 
such enterprises were by no means uncommon, and always 

I listened to him with the fascination of horror and 
astonishment. He treated the subject with perfect calm 
and indifference, as if discussing the simplest piece oi 
business in the world, and seemed to find my rejection 
of his proposal most incomprehensible. Afterwards, when 


I had come to know the country better, I realised that 
this was a typical example of the manners and customs 
of the ordinary criminals, and nothing out of the common. 
As I have said, henceforward we were to have these gentry 
for travelling companions, and it may be imagined what 
that meant. 

Another batch of our comrades took leave of us at 
Tomsk, and we were now only fourteen in number, in- 
cluding Maria Kalyushnaya, Barbara Shtchulepnikova, and 
Liubov Tchemodanova. We learned that the authorities 
proposed to separate these ladies from us here, and send 
them on for the remainder of their journey with a party 
of married convicts of the ordinary class. As, however, 
we heard from those who knew that in such a party, 
surrounded by the unruly band of criminals, they would 
have endless disagreeables and hardships to put up with, 
we sent a petition to Petersburg, with the consent of the 
governor, and obtained permission for our women comrades 
to remain in our detachment. 



THE real hardships of the journey now began for the 
" politicals." From Moscow to Tomsk, over three 
thousand miles, the conditions of travelling had been more 
or less European ; but henceforward we were to go entirely 
by road, crawling from one halting-station to another by 
short stages. In the terrible Siberian cold, in the glowing 
heat of summer, in all weathers, without regard to the 
fitness or unfitness of the road, parties of a hundred 
prisoners are despatched from Tomsk regularly on fixed 
days of the week, parties which consist alternately of 
men only, and of families — men, women, and children. 
The day's march is a stage of from sixteen to twenty 
miles, and every third day is a rest. At this tortoise-like 
pace — on an average about thirteen miles a day — the long 
wandering lasts for many weeks and months, under the 
most wretched conditions of life. 

In the damp rooms of the convoy-stations, the air of 
which is loaded with every evil odour imaginable, the 
convicts lie squeezed together on the bare boards of the 
two sloping wooden shelves, one above the other, which do 
duty for bed-places. These invariably swarm with myriads 
of parasites ; sleep is probably impossible for half the 
night, and early in the morning the prisoners are driven 
forth to begin afresh the weary march. Long before sun- 
rise the criminal contingent will be standing drawn up in 
the yard, to wait there in the cold until the roll is called, 















and at last the signal to start is given. At the head of 
the procession march the older criminals, seasoned rascals 
most of them, the " Ivans." The majority of them have 
trodden this path more than once already, and know 
every brook and copse on the way. They go at a quick 
pace, in serried ranks, and easily do their four miles an 
hour, or even more. Behind them the other criminals 
straggle painfully along in irregular groups separated by 
long stretches of road. Then come carts with the sick and 
exhausted and the baggage ; and lastly, the " politicals " 
in the rear, two or three together in each one-horse cart, 
under the charge of their special escort. 

This strange procession extends itself along the road for 
about three-quarters of a mile, and raises clouds of dust, 
from which we in the rearguard have most to suffer. To 
add to our woes there is the special scourge of those 
regions, the Siberian midge. Swarms of those terrible 
little creatures kept us company, not only attacking our 
hands and faces, and getting into mouth, nose, ears, and 
eyes, but inserting themselves beneath our clothing, and 
inflicting tortures of irritation. The only — and even these 
inefficient — means of protection are nets of horsehair, 
with which we had taken care to provide ourselves. 

After the first ten miles or so there is a halt in some 
woodland clearing, or by a spring or stream. The criminals 
here break their fast, usually only on dry bread, and 
perhaps some of them have not even that. Their feeding 
is managed in this way : each man receives daily five to 
twelve kopecks, 1 according to the locality through which 
they are passing (where prices depend on the result of the 
last harvest), and also according to the " rank " of the 
prisoner, for even here there are class distinctions and 
privileges. This allowance is only under the most favour- 
able circumstances sufficient to satisfy hunger; it covers, at 
a pinch, the cost of bread, tea, and a few vegetables. But 
gambling is so deeply rooted a passion among the criminal 

1 A kopeck is equal to a farthing. — Trans. 


prisoners that they will stake their last coin, and he who 
loses everything has to go hungry. His only resource then 
is to beg ; and whenever we passed through a village some 
of the most destitute always went begging, under the 
soldiers' supervision. They would station themselves 
before a hut and start a pitiful song, when the Siberian 
women would throw out pieces of bread to them. Travellers, 
too, whom we met would give them alms, and these gifts 
were shared among the whole party, for the criminals too 
had their artel, or union. 

After the short rest the party would set out again in the 
same marching order, and try to reach the halting-station 
before the noonday heat began. As soon as they arrived 
at the station the advance party would crowd round the 
door, ready to rush in directly it was opened ; and then 
would begin the battle for the best sleeping-places, the 
weaker being thrust aside or trampled down by the 
stronger. At our first sight of this mad fighting and 
struggling among some hundred men in a narrow space 
we thought they would kill each other, but generally the 
wild tumult of blows, kicks, and curses did not result in 
anything serious. Of course the " Ivans " came off trium- 
phant, having secured the best places for themselves, while 
the old and weak had to be content with the worst 
corners. The crowding, dirt, stench, and noise made these 
prisons veritable hells on earth. 

The halting-stations were usually tumbledown, one- 
storied buildings made of rough-hewn tree-trunks, and 
were divided inside by passages into two, three, or four 
rooms. Near this prison building would be a house for 
the officer in command and another for the soldiers, the 
whole enclosed by a stockade of posts about fifteen feet 
high, closely fitted together, and pointed at their upper 
ends. There are two classes of halting-stations : — larger 
ones, where the days of rest are spent, and where an officer 
is always in residence, and smaller ones, which are only 
used as lodging for one night. 




























I! ! ' ' 1 J 1 1 


When the question of places had been settled the 
prisoners would all come out into the yard. Here there 
were generally market-women with their wares outspread, 
and a regular bargaining would ensue. Of course, the 
convicts were always ready to cheat the women and steal 
from them, and the latter would then raise loud cries 
of lamentation ; as, however, in such cases the convicts all 
stuck together like one man, no inquiry could ever elicit 
any evidence in favour of the complainants. 

Washing and cooking also went on in the yard, a big 
fire being kindled in the middle of it ; and no one ever 
thought of danger to the wooden buildings and stockade. 

The " politicals " were given a separate room ; and our 
first task on arrival was always to screen off a part with 
sheets and rugs to make a place for our ladies. The 
position of these poor women, obliged to camp out in 
such close proximity to us men, was in many ways very 
uncomfortable, especially as soldiers were often quartered 
with us ; but we did our best to spare them any un- 
pleasantness that could be avoided. 

For some of our party the greatest hardship of our long 
journey was the early rising ; they needed sleep beyond 
everything, and from force of habit could not get it early 
in the night. As the ordinary criminals liked early hours 
— and the earlier the better — there were often disputes 
between us on the subject. We usually arranged the 
evening before with the officer of the convoy, and also 
with the headman of the ordinary convicts, and appointed 
six a.m. as the hour for starting ; but once we had a 
regular battle on this point. We " politicals " seldom 
made use of the courtyard until the criminals were shut 
up for the night ; there was no room for us till then, and 
it was therefore only toward nightfall that we could get 
out into the open air. One evening, however, some of us 
were in the yard, when the officer came up and ordered us 
to go inside. We were exceedingly surprised at this piece 
of gratuitous interference, and asked what it meant. 



" Make haste, and be off, or I shall order the start to be 
made at four o'clock to-morrow morning," said the officer. 

" But you have just agreed that we shall start at six," 
said we. 

" Well, and now I say that we shall start at four." 

" We shall stick to the original arrangement, and won't 
stir before six," we returned. 

u We shall see about that ! " was the rejoinder ; and off 
he went. 

Evidently we should have a tussle, but we were 
unanimous in our resolve not to give in to any such 
arbitrary proceeding. 

Next morning the watch awakened us while it was still 
dark, and said the officer had given orders that we must 
be moving. We paid no attention to this. The ordinary 
convicts had been already called out, and were in the yard 
ready for the start, when at four o'clock the sergeant came 
and repeated the order. Some of us then dressed, but the 
others remained lying on the plank beds. Meanwhile the 
convicts began to grumble at being kept freezing in the 
cold ; they cursed and threatened, and made a great to-do 
outside our windows. The officer himself now appeared, 
accompanied by one of the soldiers, and again repeated 
his order to start. We did not stir, and he called to his 
people — 

" Drive them out with the butt-ends of your rifles ! ,: 

This would now most certainly have become a serious 
affair if the soldiers had obeyed at once, for we were 
prepared to defend ourselves. Fortunately they hesitated 
a moment, and that saved us. 

" What are you doing ? " cried some of us. " Do you 
want to have bloodshed ? That would not be pleasant for 
you. You have broken your promise, and in no case are 
we obliged to begin the march so early ; the instructions 
only say that a party must reach its destination before 

At this moment the sergeant came up in haste. 


" Captain," said he, " the convicts are in rebellion ; they 
want to break in here." 

" Let us get at them ! " we heard them shouting outside ; 
" we'll soon make them show their legs ! " 

" There you are ! " we cried to the officer. " You have 
brought this on yourself. It is your fault for having 
inflamed those men against us." 

The man lost his presence of mind in face of this 
danger ; and, scared out of his wits, instead of giving 
orders, appealed to us for counsel. 

" In God's name, what's to be done? " 

We advised him to let the fellows start off at once, 
under command of the sergeant, so as to get them out of 
the way. 

"At six o'clock we will be ready, and will go after 
them ; but we won't start a minute sooner." 

He went off somewhat humbled, and gave the order as 
we had suggested. We drank our tea very peacefully, and 
got ready at our leisure. From time to time the orderly 
appeared, and asked if we would start ; but we always 
looked at the time and said it was only so many minutes to 
six. Punctually on the stroke of the hour we got up and 
set off after the rest of the convoy. 

This occurrence had the effect of winning us the respect 
and sympathy of most of the convicts. Our firmness and 
decision pleased them and impressed them. They were 
surprised that such a handful of us — fourteen men and 
women— should have successfully resisted the domineering 
of an officer, who had at his command a hundred soldiers 
and their own contingent into the bargain. 

Friendly relations were established between our two 
divisions, and throughout our journey we never came into 
collision. One only of the convicts had a grudge against 
us, and took every opportunity of evincing his dislike. He 
was an old hand, had repeatedly escaped from prison, and 
was now being transported as a criminal of " unknown 
antecedents." He was evidently from the working-classes, 


but was distinguished by keen reasoning powers, and had 
read an astonishing amount. Reading seemed to be his 
master passion, but the works of reactionary authors ex- 
clusively had fallen into his hands — Katkov, Meshtchersky, 
etc. — and his views were according. He had formed really 
remarkable opinions on politics in general, and Socialism 
in particular. He was genuinely convinced that the 
revolutionists had killed Alexander II. solely because he 
had emancipated the serfs ! He accused us before all the 
other convicts of being either discontented aristocrats or 
their paid agents. After this, several of us entered into 
discussion with him, and tried to convert him. By degrees 
our arguments began to take effect ; he begged us to 
lend him books, and sought our society whenever possible. 
I had many talks with him, and tried to get him to tell me 
about his past and his wandering life ; but I never suc- 
ceeded in learning who and what he really was. He 
remained to the end the " Ivan of unknown antecedents," 
as he was called in his record-book. Yet he would readily 
tell us tales of his vagabondage. I asked him on one 
occasion how he managed to get through to European 
Russia when he escaped from Siberia. 

" Oh, where' s the difficulty ? " he replied. " The chief 
thing is to have the Urals behind your back ; then you get 
a train or a steamboat, and stop wherever you like. I 
would go in that way to Kharkov, or Kiev, or Odessa, 
or Rostov, hire a room, and live quite comfortably. I was 
always respectably dressed ; my passport was all right 
(that we see to ourselves), and so nobody bothered about 
me. The one thing I cared about was to subscribe to 
a library and get books. I've read all sorts of good 
things — Gaboriau, Paul de Kock, Ponson du Terrail, and 
lots more beside. At midday I would dine at a restaurant, 
and go to the theatre in the evening sometimes." 

" That sounds very nice. But where did you get the 
money for all that ? " I inquired, with interest. 

Of earning a living in the ordinary sense there was 


To face page 164 


evidently no question here. One would suppose the 
gentleman to have been living on private means. 

" Money ? Oh, I took whatever there was to take ! ,] 

"Well, tell me just what that means," I asked him. 
And he thereupon explained his theory of life. 

" Above everything, it's my motto that ' Self's the man.' 
I don't hold with joint-stock business in our way of life. 
Thieves make bad partners, you know. You run the 
chance of being murdered or split on at every turn ; so 
I always work on my own hook." 

He then related how he " worked " at burglary, pocket- 
picking, or petty thefts, each as occasion served. 

" Of course," he observed, " sometimes you have a bit 
of bad luck and get caught. Then off you go to Siberia, 
and have to begin all over again. I expect I shall go 
on all my life ringing the changes on Europe and Asia," 
he concluded, with perfect composure. 

I realised from the narrations of this man and other 
criminals the astonishing numbers belonging to this vaga- 
bond class. It is generally recruited from the ranks of 
those condemned to transportation for the less serious 
offences ; but some among its members have been sen- 
tenced to penal servitude, and have then " swopped." As 
soon as the sun of spring shines out, not one of them 
remains at his place of exile ; they all manage to get away 
and make for European Russia. They usually choose 
byways and tracks known only to themselves through the 
taiga or primeval forest, but occasionally they wander 
quite calmly along the great Moscow high road — until the 
completion of the railway the only regular way of transit 
between Eastern Siberia and Europe. We ourselves often 
met these tramps on the road, travelling in couples or in 
quite considerable bands. They came along in their 
prison clothes, a bundle and a small kettle on their backs ; 
always skirting the edge of the forest, so as to vanish 
within its recesses if need be. At sight of our party they 
would stop for a chat with the convicts, among whom they 

1 66 THE JOURNEY BY ROAD [chap. 

often found old acquaintances. The officers and soldiers 
seemed not to trouble their heads about them in the 
slightest degree. 

" Where are you off to ? " the officer of our convoy once 
asked, when some tramps saluted him, cap in hand. 

" Your Excellency knows ; we're going to the Govern- 
ment's lodgings," the rogues replied, grinning. 

" Oh, get along with you, then, in God's name ! " the 
officer laughed ; and then told us that he had escorted this 
very lot into exile a few months back. 

" Government lodgings " was the recognised euphemism 
for prison, and it was perfectly true that most of these 
vagabonds would find their way back there soon enough ; 
by autumn hardly a man of them would be still at large. 
Meanwhile they begged their way along. The Siberian 
natives were liberal in almsgiving ; partly from obedience 
to their religion, which enjoins charitable deeds, but not a 
little from fear, as, if refused, these tramps are not slow in 
revenging themselves. In many places there was a regular 
custom of putting out food on the window-sill at night — a 
bowl of thickened milk, a piece of bread, or some curd- 
cheese. The peasants would even leave open the door of 
the bath-house (generally placed at a little distance from 
the other houses), that the wanderers might find shelter. 
They were admitted very unwillingly to the dwelling- 
houses, from a not unjustifiable mistrust of their conduct ; 
and that reminds me of the following episode. 

One day as we were on the march a criminal told 
me that he had known Tchernishevsky. 1 This naturally 
excited my interest, and I asked him how and where he 
had met that great martyr to our cause. He told me that 
he had once before been exiled, and sent to Viluisk, in 
Yakutsk. Tchernishevsky was there at the same time ; 

1 This celebrated scholar and political writer, though not an active member 
of the revolutionary party, was arrested in 1866 and condemned to penal 
servitude. During his imprisonment in the Fortress of Peter and Paul he 
wrote his famous novel, What Should We Do ? which had such a great 
influence on the youth of his time. — Trans. 


they were let out of prison together, and interned in the 
same town. The man could tell me nothing except some 
details of the way in which Tchernishevsky had passed his 
time in exile ; but that was enough to make my heart 
warm towards him. It seemed to me that a criminal who 
had known personally one of the noblest men in Russia 
must have something in him a little different from the rest. 
When he had told me all he could of Tchernishevsky, 
I asked him how he himself came to be going back into 

" I got sick of that cursed hole, Viluisk," he said, " and 
got away with some other tramps. We'd been a few days 
on the road when one stormy night we came to a village. 
It was pouring in torrents, and we could find nobody who 
would let us in, till at last an old man opened the door of 
his hut. We begged him in God's name to give us shelter. 

" ' Well/ he said, ' will you promise to leave us old folks 
in peace ? ' 

" ' What do you take us for, grandfather ? ' said we. 
? Have pity on us ! ' 

" So he let us in, and the old woman gave us something 
to eat, and they allowed us to lie on the stove by turns. 
Well, they went to sleep, and we just did for them, and 
went off with everything that could be of any use to us. 
We didn't get far : the peasants came after us and caught 
us ; and then there was the usual game — trial and sentence 
to penal servitude. But on the way here I made a ' swop/ 
and now I'm going into exile as ' of unknown antecedents/ " 

On their side, however, the people of Siberia are often 
guilty of great brutality towards the convict-tramps, 
sometimes shooting them down like beasts of the chase 
simply in order to steal their clothes, boots, and the pro- 
ducts of their begging. I have been told, for instance, 
by people whose evidence is to be trusted, that the fol- 
lowing is a typical instance. 

A tramp had hired himself out to a peasant for the 

1 68 THE JOURNEY BY ROAD [chap, xviii 

winter. When spring laid the road open, he received the 
whole sum due to him, and took his departure. His wages 
amounted to the veriest trifle, for the peasants drive hard 
bargains with the poor rascals ; but his master grudged 
parting with even this miserable pittance, and after his 
departure took his gun and went on the chase. Siberians 
are keen huntsmen and dead shots ; they are as much at 
home in the forest as the wild animals. This man soon 
got on the convict's trail, caught him up, shot him down 
ruthlessly, and left the body to the beasts of prey, while 
he went home with the spoils. 

Throughout our journey we constantly heard tales of 
unrecognised corpses found, and shocking crimes never 
unravelled. Siberia was then a wild, forsaken land, un- 
traversed by roads save for the one great Moscow highway. 
The government of the country districts, entirely in the 
hands of the police, was corrupt from top to bottom. 
What wonder if events that chill one's blood with horror 
take place there without exciting more than a passing 
comment? The life of a human being is not valued 
highly in itself anywhere throughout the Tsar's dominions; 
but in Siberia it counts for absolutely nothing, as my own 
eyes often testified. Even now, when distinct progress has 
been made in many respects, and the administration of 
justice greatly reformed (since 1897), this state of things 
is little changed. 



OUR journey was for the most part accomplished 
during the Siberian summer. The forest, through 
which the highway runs for thousands of versts, is then in 
fullest beauty ; and from the many different species of 
trees is wafted an indescribably delicious perfume. Count- 
less birds flit among the branches, and fill the air with 
song. Life seems everywhere the more ebullient for its 
long winter sleep, and throughout all nature the tide of 
energy is at its highest. A riot of joy was visible every- 
where, and we alone seemed to strike a discordant note, 
as we wandered on towards the prison that awaited us. 
Yet even we felt born anew ; our open-air life worked 
wonders, following on our long imprisonment. Many who 
had left Moscow weak and ill became robust in health 
during the journey. 

The Moscow high-road is, as I have said, the only means 
of transit, nevertheless it is kept in an incredibly bad con- 
dition. It has never been properly made, and during the 
damp weather of early spring, or after a downpour in 
summer, vehicles are often axle-deep in mud. Along the 
road, at intervals of fifteen to twenty versts, there are 
villages, or sometimes small towns. To the north and 
south no traces of human dwellings are to be found ; the 
eternal forest extends for thousands of versts, and only a 



few nomad tribes of half-savage hunters or herdsmen 
roam through its depths. Whilst our party rested, or even 
during the march, we " politicals " would often leave the 
road, and accompanied by a guard would dive into the 
woods to gather flowers and berries. A strange feeling 
would steal over one. A dozen steps into the thicket, and 
one is absolutely alone, not a soul to be seen. One dreams 
of being free and one's own master ; but the rattle of 
fetters, or the glitter of a bayonet brings back grim reality, 
and soon we are recalled by the soldiers, for the party must 
not be kept waiting. 

The officers make no difficulty about these little excur- 
sions, although they are forbidden by the regulations. At 
first this surprised me ; but I soon saw it was simply 
because everyone was convinced that escape was quite 
impracticable. For although at first sight it may appear 
an easy thing to hide in the undergrowth and get away, 
as a matter of fact very few " politicals " have ever even 
attempted it, and only one — Dzvonkyevitch — when actually 
on the march. He had been condemned to penal servitude 
for life, and ran away from his escort into the forest ; but 
the soldiers caught and frightfully maltreated him. If the 
officers had not come up he would have been murdered 
out of hand. He was taken half dead to the hospital in 
Krasnoyarsk, where — thanks to his strong constitution — 
he recovered from his severe wounds, though he will bear 
traces of them for the rest of his life. This had taken 
place just a year before our arrival at Krasnoyarsk. 

Several attempts have also been made to escape from 
the halting-stations, but with no greater success. It must 
be remembered that Siberia is so sparsely populated that 
every traveller on the road is an object of universal 
attention, and the authorities are therefore soon made 
aware of the whereabouts of a runaway, if he be a 
" political " whom they are anxious to capture. Besides, 
the fugitives are often forced to come in of themselves. 
They do not know the paths through the forest, so 









familiar to the ordinary criminals, but wander helplessly 
about, and are thankful at last if they chance to hit the 
high-road once more, and — half famished — seek the 
nearest village. In such cases the peasants are eager to 
assist the authorities and thereby earn a reward ; and as 
soon as they discover a political runaway they unfailingly 
deliver him up to the police. 

Up to the present time the Russian Government has 
been amply justified in regarding Siberia as one vast 
prison, whose natural conditions offer more insuperable 
obstacles to escape than do iron bars, high walls, or any 
number of guards. But this is only to the " politicals," to 
whom the forest ways are strange. The criminals, as I 
have said, are quite at home in the wild woods ; and it is 
easily conceivable that to many of us the thought has 
occurred of making common cause with these people, and 
escaping in their company. Such attempts, however, have 
more than once had a fatal ending. The rascals are 
always ready to murder for the sake of gain ; a 
11 political's " money, and even his clothes, are quite 
sufficient bait. In this manner it is supposed that 
Ladislas Isbitsky came by his death in the year 1880. 
He had successfully negotiated a " swop," had escaped as 
an ordinary criminal — and then disappeared for ever, 
probably murdered by the tramps to whose guidance he 
had entrusted himself. 

Another instance of this kind was related to me by a 
political exile, who, when himself a fugitive in company 
with some convict-tramps, chanced to overhear them 
planning to murder him in his sleep. For weeks he was 
obliged to feign sleep at night while really remaining 
awake — a terrible task, as may readily be imagined. 

These criminals do not, indeed, even trust one another 
when on the road ; and it is said that when two of them 
have to enter a narrow path, there will be a sharp dispute 
as to who is to go first, the one in front never feeling safe 
from an attack in the rear by the companion of his march. 


Other dangers also lie in wait for the wanderer. Our 
comrade Vlastopoulo, sentenced to penal servitude for life, 
narrowly escaped being devoured by a bear, during his 
flight in company with Koziriov (another revolutionist 
condemned to penal servitude). He described to me how 
the bear came so suddenly upon them that they had no 
time to fly, and could only back against a tree, supposing 
their last hour had come. Bruin, however, must have had 
a full meal, for he trotted quietly by, apparently without 
noticing them ! These two fugitives suffered terribly from 
hunger and thirst during their wanderings through the 

Although we had had no personal experience of these 
various dangers, most of us were so well aware of them 
that no plan of escape during the journey entered into our 
calculations ; but two of our comrades could not resist the 
temptation to weave schemes of the kind. These were 
Maria Kalyushnaya and the student Yordan — the former 
condemned to twenty years' penal servitude, and the latter 
<l administratively " exiled to Eastern Siberia for five years. 
They were both young, barely twenty, and their longing 
for freedom was overpowering. None of their projects of 
flight were practicable, however, and they did not attempt 
to carry them into execution. Both these young creatures 
died in prison ; Maria Kalyushnaya's story, which I shall 
have to relate further on, being a specially sad one. 

We had many opportunities, during our long march, 
of becoming acquainted with the people whose dwellings 
are beside the great highway. A certain air of comfort 
and well-being was often visible about them, and some 
of the larger settlements had the pleasant appearance of 
a Russian provincial town. Roomy, well-built houses, 
occasionally of more than one story, decorated with 
carving and provided with tidy hedges and gates, lined 
the road sometimes for several versts. Curtains and 
flower-pots showed in the windows ; the rooms were often 
carpeted and furnished comfortably, sometimes even ex- 


hibiting the luxury of Austrian bentwood furniture. The 
cattle, so far as we could see, were finer and better kept 
than is usual among the Russian peasantry. 

This well-to-do appearance was only in part to be 
ascribed to the productiveness of the husbandry in these 
regions. Trade and the conduct of traffic were the prin- 
cipal resources of the inhabitants ; for this road was the 
only means of communication by land between Europe 
and the northern parts of Asia. Caravans in lengthy 
processions, sometimes in such numbers that the road was 
practically blocked, travelled along the great highway; and 
the country people found employment in the transport of 
both goods and passengers. The regular posting-stations 
were often unequal to the demands made upon them, 
and travellers — merchants especially — were obliged to hire 
private vehicles and pay dearly for them. Besides these 
legitimate industries, the inhabitants had another extremely 
lucrative source of gain. Many villages had won for them- 
selves an evil name in this connection, and were known as 
"thieves' towns," because no caravan ever passed through 
them without paying toll of its wares ; sometimes a chest 
of tea would be stolen, sometimes a horse, and so on. It 
was asserted that in some of these places the inhabitants 
made raids on travellers by night, and lived by highway 
robbery. It is characteristic of the country that this 
reputation lowered no man in public estimation. Anyone 
was received in "good society" if he were rich, no matter 
whether he were well known to have robberies by the score 
upon his conscience ; he might, indeed, even be asked to 
fill the most honourable offices — such as churchwarden, 
mayor, or head of the commune. Later, when I was 
living in a Siberian town as an exile released from prison 
under police surveillance, I was frequently told by trust- 
worthy persons, with every detail, how such and such 
a citizen, universally respected and esteemed, had made 
his fortune by cheating and robbery, or even by down- 
right murder. There were numbers of people whose past 


could not bear inspection ; and many of them, even after 
becoming possessed of wealth in superfluity, could not 
quite give up their old practices. It so fell out, for 
example, at the end of the eighties, that General Barabash 
the military governor of Tchita (the capital of the Trans- 
baikalian Government), gave a banquet, to which all the 
notabilities of the place were invited, and that the highly 
respectable merchant and mayor Alexeiev broke off in 
the middle of the feasting and went straight from table 
to waylay the passing night-mail. This worthy citizen, 
with one of his friends, galloped after the mail-coach, 
murdered the driver, seriously wounded the guard, seized 
the bag containing the registered letters, and made off. 
The guard, however, whom they had left for dead, was 
rescued ; and as an unusually energetic magistrate took 
the matter in hand, the whole story came out, and could 
not be hushed up in the customary manner. The case was 
brought before a court-martial, and the highway robbers 
were condemned to death. 

These colonies by the great road had had very diverse 
origins, and were sharply differentiated from each other 
in character. There were more or less pure Russian 
villages, neighboured by barbaric Buriat settlements ; and 
there were also villages inhabited exclusively by members 
of various sects, exiled from Russia and forcibly estab- 
lished there as a punishment for their daring to fall away 
from the Orthodox State religion. Those that I found 
specially interesting were the villages of the so-called 
Subotniki (Sabbatarians). The members of this sect are 
Russian by nationality, yet their religion is the Mosaic 
in its strictest form. 

It was curious in the extreme to find these typical 
representatives of the Slav race considering themselves 
Jews by virtue of their religion, and still stranger to 
hear them boasting of the prerogatives of their Israelitish 
faith. In their manner of life and occupations they differ 
in no way from ordinary Russian peasants ; although in 

xix] SIBERIANS 175 

decency and prosperity their villages are far above those 
of their Christian neighbours. 

Those of our criminal contingent who had travelled this 
way more than once already were well acquainted with 
the manners and customs of the Siberian people ; many 
of them were veritable mines of information, and could 
relate tales of uncommon interest. In their narrations 
the Siberians usually figured in an unfavourable light ; 
for the criminals hate them from the bottom of their 
hearts, and ascribe all kinds of evil qualities to them, 
being, one and all, firmly persuaded that although their 
own standard of conduct is by no means exalted, they 
are infinitely higher in the moral scale than the Siberians. 

" Heaven knows we are rascals through and through, 
good-for-nothings, and all that ; but that lot are far and 
away worse," was their dictum. They showered on the 
Siberians all sorts of contemptuous names, which were 
quite incomprehensible to us, but seemed to provoke 
their recipients terribly. This mutual antipathy probably 
arose from the fact of the parties knowing one another 
only too well, and from the injuries inflicted by each on 
the other during past generations. 

We came into such close contact with the world of crime 
during our travels that we could soon recognise what 
Lombroso calls "the criminal type." On the whole, the 
criminals made a more favourable impression on me than 
I had expected. Certainly there was much about them 
unpleasant, and even repulsive ; but this was, I think, 
less due to their character as a class than to the special 
influence of the " Ivans " — a quite peculiar type, who 
imparted their tone more or less to all the others. With 
the exception of these leaders, and of a small number of 
the worst criminals, who had not succeeded in " swopping," 
the majority consisted of very average men of the working 
class, with the good and bad qualities of their order. Their 
leading characteristics were dumb acquiescence in their lot 
and a shy dread of anyone who would attempt to better it 


They were for the most part just as good-natured and 
ready to help one another as is commonly the case with 
workers of the lower classes. Among the ordinary prisoners, 
too, were to be found many individuals who could in no 
sense be ranked as criminals. Russian village communes 
have the power of rejecting from their midst members 
whom they consider undesirable ; and these outcasts can 
then be sent to settle in Siberia, without any judicial 
sentence, but simply by the desire of a majority in their 
commune. Moreover, this verdict of the commune is often 
delivered without any real majority being convinced as to 
the unfitness of the offending member ; the clerk to the 
commune and two or three of the richer peasants and 
usurers (Kulaki) can easily manage to get rid of a poor 
wretch who does not happen to please them. It would be 
impossible to calculate how many crying injustices are 
thus perpetrated on the destitute and helpless among the 
peasantry. The victims of such barbarous and arbitrary 
proceedings who were among our party, had many sad 
stories to tell, which only corroborated what I myself had 
seen going on in country districts. With one or two 
exceptions, the exiles belonging to this category were quite 
average specimens of the Russian peasant. 

There were also included among these ordinary prisoners 
members of various religious sects, exiled on that account, 
and they were very far removed from the criminal type. 
These sectarians are admitted, by all who know Siberia 
best, to form the steadiest and the most industrious 
element of the population. The sectarians in our party of 
ordinary prisoners always avoided any participation in the 
fights, quarrels, and rowdyism of the others, and tried not 
to fall out either with the leaders of the convict band, on 
the one hand, nor with the authorities on the other. It 
was their custom to accept humbly all insults and injuries 
inflicted on them as trials sent them by God. 

Those prisoners who had minor punishments to under- 
go, and who had least on their conscience, were for the 


most part timid, submissive, even broken-spirited. Among 
them were the unfortunate wretches whom I have de- 
scribed as gambling away their food-money for whole 
weeks together. They then literally starved, or sold 
themselves into the hands of the " swop " organisation for 
a beggarly sum. They were treated with utter contempt 
by the other criminals, and among them went by the name 
of " biscuits," a rather descriptive title for these pale, dried- 
up, emaciated creatures. These u biscuits " were the 
pariahs of their society, and all the dirtiest and most 
disagreeable work — cleaning out of privies, etc. — fell to 
their share as a matter of course. They seemed to have 
lost all power of will ; and gambling — the source of all 
their sufferings — was the only thing they cared for. They 
were always ready to steal anything that came in their 
way, except from the " Ivans," which would have had dire 
results for themselves if discovered, probably a murderous 
thrashing. I only knew one case of that kind, when a 
poor young fellow stole a piece of bread from one of the 
" Ivans," and the artel at once decided that he should 
be punished exemplarily, " because he had stolen from 
his own people." 

I have spoken before of this artel, an extremely interest- 
ing institution which has existed among criminals from 
time immemorial. It is based on stringent and unalterable 
rules, the chief of which is that each individual must yield 
implicit obedience to the will of the whole artel. All 
members are supposed to have, dejure, equal rights in the 
organisation ; but, de facto, the confirmed criminals, the 
old experienced rogues and vagabonds, are the preponder- 
ating element, and it is the " Ivans" that govern the rest 
ruthlessly in their own proper interest. It is their will that 
passes for the will of the whole body. Without the sanction 
of the artel no agreement between individuals has any 
force ; only with its consent can any " swop ,: be carried 
out, and thus a portion of the price always goes into the 
common exchequer. Once the sanction of the artel is given 



there is no holding back ; a criminal who refused to fulfil 
his " swop " when he had agreed to it and received his pay 
would have the whole combined artel against him. But 
such a case never occurs ; and fear of the artel's vengeance 
is too great for any treachery by its members. The lawful 
authorities would have no power to shield such a traitor, 
and could not get him out of the clutches of the organisa- 
tion ; for if he were moved to another prison the artel 
there would take on the feud and mete out vengeance to 
him, the leaders invariably finding means to communicate 
with each other. In one respect the solidarity of the artel 
is especially strong : it is represented in all dealings with 
the authorities by its starosta or head-man, elected by the 
prisoners themselves from among their own ranks. This 
is a post of honour, and is naturally always obtained by an 
experienced and crafty rogue. He makes all arrangements 
concerning his constituents, receives their food-money, 
and sees to its distribution. His authority over the com- 
mon herd is limitless ; but he is directly dependent on 
the leaders — the " Ivans " — who have carried through his 
election, and would be powerless without their support, so 
that he has to keep on good terms with them. The office 
of starosta has its pecuniary advantages, and it often 
happens that candidates for the post pay a considerable 
sum for the votes of the powerful " Ivans." 

A less important, but equally profitable post is that of 
the storekeeper, who trades with the other prisoners in tea, 
sugar, tobacco, and other things of the kind, and — secretly 
— in spirits and playing-cards. This privilege is granted 
by the artU for a fixed time to one of the candidates for 
the office, who pays for it a certain sum into the common 
chest. The chief profits accrue from the illicit sale of spirits 
and 'hiring out of playing-cards. At night, as soon as the 
ordinary prisoners were shut in, and often even by day, they 
might be seen squatting together in groups to indulge in 
a game of chance. They would gamble away not only 
their meagre food-allowance, but clothes, linen, boots, the 


property of the State ; for which they were of course 
accountable, and for the loss of which — if discovered — 
they were liable to severe punishment. Half naked, save 
for some miserable rags, the condition of the wretched 
" biscuits " in bad weather was pitiable indeed ; and when 
the cold days of autumn came on they could be seen 
shivering from head to foot, running instead of walking 
when on the march, to try and keep warm. It was hard 
to understand how these men could endure the hunger and 
cold they brought on themselves. We attempted to relieve 
them, but could do very little ; as, firstly, our own means 
were very limited ; and, secondly, they staked everything 
we gave them, at the first opportunity, despite the most 
solemn promises. There was always an eager crowd 
around any players, following the game with as much 
excitement as the principals themselves could manifest ; 
and occasionally a lucky winner would share some of his 
gains with his starving comrades. It was the custom, too, 
for the storekeeper to treat the whole company when his 
term of office expired ; that was a feast-day for the 
hungry, and you might hear them say : " To-day we'll eat 
our fill ; the storekeeper pays " ! 

The officers of the escort on principle never interfered 
with the affairs of the artel, the prisoners themselves 
managing to keep order so as to avoid any occasion for 
such interference or coercion. It was certainly remarkable 
that this crowd of people, many of whom were hardened 
robbers and murderers, should have been so easy to rule ; 
for the numbers of the escort were relatively small. No 
prisoner attempted to escape, that being strictly forbidden 
by their rules during the journey for fear of reprisals by 
the authorities against the artel. There were squabbles 
and scuffles, but never anything that necessitated the inter- 
ference of the soldiery ; and though doubtless there was an 
inordinate amount of drinking (for spirits were always to 
be had), no drunkard was allowed to carry on any brawl- 
ing under the eye of the officer. The others saw to that. 


There was a tacit understanding between the artkl and the 
officer ; the latter knew that if the prisoners were allowed 
a free hand in certain matters he could count on them to 
keep order among themselves, and never to cause him any- 
trouble. He therefore looked the other way when regula- 
tions were disregarded, as, for instance, in the matter 
of fetters, which were always merely tied together, not 
riveted ; so that though worn on the march they could be 
taken off at night — which was of course against rules. 
Among all the different convoy officers (and there were 
forty stationed on the route between Tomsk and Kara — 
men of very varied types), not one made any exception to 
this rule. I have never observed any abuse of their power 
in regard to the prisoners, nor that they were particularly 
rude and rough in dealing with them ; still less that they 
ever attempted to mulct them of their food-money or other 
allowances. On the other hand, it often happens that these 
officers are prosecuted for shortcomings of this kind in 
connection with their subordinates, and even for direct 
peculation. It must be remembered that the halting- 
stations are established in the wilderness, far removed from 
the reach of the central authorities, military and civil. It 
is easy, therefore, for a commanding officer to abuse his 
position. Most of them get but a scanty education in the 
lower military schools, and are then sent out into the 
Siberian wilds, where many are naturally led to give 
the rein to their worst qualities. The majority of them 
know no pleasure but debauchery, and when drunk commit 
all kinds of excesses, gamble away the excise-money, 
maltreat their inferiors, and so on. 

There were a few officers with a taste for economy, and 
they were less inclined to excess, but the soldiers were 
scarcely better off under their rule — perhaps worse — than 
under that of the rakes and drunkards ; for these able 
financiers established such a thorough control of ways and 
means in their department that their unfortunate men 
were not only mercilessly fleeced, but made to do all sorts 


of work in house and field in order to save paying for 
labour. However, this class was not a large one. 

To us " politicals " most of the officers behaved with 
formal correctness, and tried to avoid any conflicts. But 
apart from their general attitude, there were numerous 
petty details — slight enough in themselves, but of great 
importance to us on such a long journey — that were some- 
times subjects of dispute ; for instance, the hour of starting 
in the early morning, as I have already mentioned ; and 
we had discussions with various officers about other things, 
such as keeping the wooden tub in our room all night, 
which we declined to do, as it poisoned the air, and also 
on account of the ladies who had to share the room with 
us. If the officer were ill-tempered or obstinate, trifles 
like these might be the occasion of insults and bullying on 
his side that would lead to revolt and violence on ours ; 
and then a court-martial with its cruel verdict loomed 
before us. Fortunately, things never went so far as that, 
— thanks partly to our having in our midst a few older 
and wiser heads, who exercised a calming influence over 
the rest, besides three men who had had considerable 
experience of intercourse with the authorities, as they were 
going to Siberia for the second time, having previously 
been "administratively" exiled — Malyovany, Spandoni, 
and Tchuikov. We owed much also to the exertions and 
tactful counsel of our head-man, Lazarev. 

It happened sometimes that we came across officers who 
were ready to show us many small kindnesses — lending us 
newspapers and paying attention to our comfort in any 
way possible to them. On one or two occasions we had 
unexpected bits of good fortune. An officer, recognising 
a school-friend in one of our comrades — Snigiriov, a 
veterinary surgeon — was much moved at the meeting, and 
during the two days of his accompanying us did all he 
could to help us. Another officer announced himself as 
a sympathiser with Socialism. He had mixed in revolu- 
tionary circles, and made no secret of his views, being 


in entire agreement with us. He told us he read a good 
deal of forbidden literature, and we discussed many 
political problems with him. Naturally it was a pleasant 
surprise to find a man of kindred opinions among the 
instruments of despotism. 

The polite behaviour of most officers towards us may 
possibly have been due to an amusingly mistaken notion, 
of which by chance we discovered symptoms. On enter- 
ing one of the halting-stations we found in the room to 
which we were shown a plainly dressed man with hand- 
cuffs on his wrists. He turned out to be a political exile 
named Stephen Agapov, 1 a factory hand, who was now 
being removed from Eastern to Western Siberia as a 
mitigation of his punishment, in accordance with the 
coronation manifesto of 1883. His wife, a Siberian 
peasant, accompanied him. Agapov explained to us that 
when our party was expected the officer had ordered him 
to quit that room, because a party of " politicals " was 
coming, composed entirely of counts and princes, and that 
these noble personages would never put up with having 
a common workman in the room with them. Agapov and 
his wife thought this no reason why they should be turned 
out of the room intended for political prisoners like them- 
selves, and they refused to obey, which led to a violent 
scene, and Agapov was put in irons. Worse still, the 
irate officer had another punishment in store for him. 
The pair had with them all their belongings — the fruits 
of hard work in Eastern Siberia — making a weight of 
luggage beyond what was permitted by the regulations. 
The officer immediately ordered everything above the 
prescribed weight to be sold by auction to the people 
of the place — a pure piece of malice, as even the ordinary 
exiles were always allowed excess luggage, and still more 
those who were benefiting by the act of grace. 

1 Agapov was sentenced in the case of fifty Propagandists, in 1887, to 
three years and eight months' penal servitude. In 1880 he was released 
from prison and interned as a "colonist" in Eastern Siberia. 


This tyrannical performance incensed us highly, and our 
good head-man went at once to the officer with an appeal 
for the release of our comrade from his fetters, which was 
granted without much ado. The comic part of the affair 
was that we ourselves should figure as princes and counts ! 
In reality there was not one among us of such rank, but 
the legend had probably arisen from the addresses of 
letters sent by members of our party to Prince Volhonsky, 
Count Leo Tolstoi, and other well-known people of title. 
The affair had further consequences for the poor Agapovs, 
as the officer reported them for disobedience, violence, etc., 
and they were sent to one of those "towns" to the north of 
Tobolsk that I have previously described — a far worse 
locality than that from which they were being brought as 
an act of clemency. 



THE distance from Tomsk to Krasnoyarsk is about 
five hundred versts, and took us a full month to 
accomplish — twenty days on the march and ten days of 
rest between the stages. In Krasnoyarsk we were to wait 
a week, the ordinary prisoners being taken to the deporta- 
tion prison and we ourselves lodged in the town gaol. On 
arriving there we were struck by the orderliness of the 
arrangements. The spacious new building was freshly 
whitewashed, and the whole place spotlessly clean ; there 
was light and air in abundance, and there were no bars to 
the windows. We might have imagined that we had been 
brought to a decent hotel ; I have certainly never seen 
another prison like it in either Siberia or Russia. When we 
entered the corridor, however, the air of comfort was some- 
what lessened by inscriptions on the cell doors — " For 
murder"; "For robbery"; "For theft," etc. The governor, 
a pleasant-looking man, came up and ordered briefly and 
decisively that we should be placed in separate cells, and 
each according to his special class — convicts, exiles, and 
" administratives " — as that was the rule of the place. This 
did not suit us at all, and we explained to him the upset it 
would mean to our feeding arrangements ; besides which, 
as during our two months' journey we had clubbed all our 
luggage together, it would be very awkward to change all 
that at a moment's notice. Moreover, we told him, we did 



not wish to be treated in any different way from that 
prescribed by the regulations ; that we were on transport, 
and therefore not supposed to conform to the rules of the 
place, which only applied to prisoners on remand or under 
sentence there. It had nothing to do with us, we said, 
that we had not been taken to the deportation prison 
where we belonged; and — to sum the matter up — we 
intended to do here as everywhere else, i.e. we should 
divide into groups convenient to ourselves in the different 
rooms, and might be locked up by night, but not by day, 
as set forth in our instructions. 

The governor was much put about at receiving this 
answer, and declared he could on no account permit such 
an infringement of his regulations ; but we refused to be 
lodged separately, and remained firmly planted in the 
corridor, bag and baggage. The chief of police was now 
sent for : a perfect Falstaff, and — as it turned out — a very 
ignorant fellow. He likewise pronounced that we must 
conform to the regulations ; to which we made our former 
reply, claiming our rights. As we were reasoning with 
him, one of the ladies happened to mention the word 
" goumdnnost" (humanity), and — like the postmaster in 
Gogol's immortal comedy, who did not know whether 
"mauvais ton" might not mean something worse than 
"rascal" — so this good man became uneasy as to whether 
the unfamiliar word might not contain some offence, and 
demanded an explanation, with which — repressing our 
amusement — we furnished him. In the end this func- 
tionary decided that a still higher power must be referred 
to — the governor of the district ; meanwhile there next 
successively appeared the colonel of the gendarmerie and 
the public prosecutor, to whom we again explained our 
position. They could find nothing to say against our 
representations, and after the discussion had lasted a long 
time — we Camping out in the passage all the while, unable 
to unpack or prepare a meal (although we had eaten 
nothing since early morning and were fearfully hungry) — 


at last the good people agreed that, pending the arrival of 
the governor's decision, we should make our own arrange- 

Next day as we sat at dinner the chief of police ap- 
peared in full parade uniform, with his helmet on. 

" Gentlemen, I am to inform you of the governor's 
decision," he began ceremoniously, when our head-man 
interrupted him with the request that he would uncover 
his head. 

" Gentlemen, you see I am in parade uniform, and the 
helmet is part of it ; I cannot take it off," he stammered, 
doubtful if this were not some new form of insult. 

" We do not care what sort of uniform it is," answered 
Lazarev, with imperturbable calm, "when you come into 
our room you will have the kindness to remove your head- 

" Now this is too much. I cannot, I really cannot take 
off my helmet," he declared, growing warm. 

" Do as you please ; but in that case we will not listen 
to the decision of the governor," said Lazarev. 

The poor man looked from one to another, hesitated, 
and finally bared his worthy head and imparted to us the 
formal decision : the governor granted our desire. 

I wonder how many officials have had to learn this 
elementary lesson in politeness from us. 

In Krasnoyarsk our party was diminished to eleven in 
number. The veterinary surgeon Snigiriov and the student 
Kornienko were to remain in the government of Yenisei, 
and we had to leave Spandoni behind in the prison, as he 
was ill. 

We were two months on the journey from Krasnoyarsk 
to Irkutsk, a thousand versts. In that whole distance 
there is only one town, Nijni-Udinsk ; and even this 
scarcely deserves the title. Here we met comrades — a 
married couple named Novakovsky — also on their way to 
Eastern Siberia. I had known Novakovsky in Kiev ; he 


had taken part in the 1876 demonstration in the Kazan 
Square in Petersburg, and had been banished to Siberia. 
After the coronation manifesto in 1883, ne was moved 
from Balagansk, in the government of Irkutsk, to 
Minuisinsk, in the government of Yenisei ; but now he 
and his wife were being sent out to the East, on the 
following account. For some reason or other Novakovsky 
had fallen out with the ispravnik 1 of Minuisinsk. Another 
of the political exiles had occasion to apply to the 
ispravnik for something ; the latter, mistaking him for 
Novakovsky, received him with the grossest incivility, and 
when he discovered his error, apologised by explaining the 
mistake he had made. The thing was talked about, and 
came to the ears of Novakovsky and of his wife, who had 
voluntarily followed him into banishment. For some days 
the exiles consulted together what should be done, but 
before they had decided to take any steps, Novakovsky's 
wife took the matter into her own hands ; she went into 
the office and gave the ispravnik a box on the ear, with 
the words — " That's for my husband ! " She was had up 
for trial, and sentenced by the court to deportation into 
Eastern Siberia, whither her husband was now accom- 
panying her by his own desire. 

Later I learned to know and esteem Novakovsky's wife. 
She was a clever, courageous woman, of lively and resolute 
disposition. I believe that both she and her husband died 
in Siberia. 

Our journey now proceeded much as heretofore, only in 
course of time the regulations were less and less strictly 
observed. We left off our fetters altogether, without any 
comment being made, and were never bothered about 

I looked forward with impatience to arriving at Irkutsk 
prison, where I hoped to meet a friend of early days — 
Maria Kovalevskaya. We had become acquainted in 187$, 

1 Head of the district police. 


belonged to the same section of the Buntari, and — as was 
then customary among all the revolutionists — said " thee " 
and "thou" to one another. Maria Kovalevskaya 1 was 
one of the most remarkable women in the movement ; she 
was the daughter of a man of property named Vorontsov, 
and had married Kovalevsky, a tutor in a military gym- 
nasium. In the early sixties she joined the revolutionary 
movement, left her husband and little daughter, and 
devoted herself to the work of the party. She was small 
of stature and had something of the gipsy in her looks ; 
was lively and energetic in manner, keen of wit, ready and 
logical in speech. She distinguished herself at all 
theoretical discussions, always penetrating to the kernel of 
the question in hand, and bringing life and point into the 
debate, without ever becoming personal or hurting anyone's 
feelings. She was esteemed very highly ; and people who 
were quite opposed to the Socialists fully appreciated her 
exceptional gifts. In any other country she would have 
played a distinguished part ; in Russia she was condemned 
to fourteen years and ten months' penal servitude, because 
she was found in a house where some revolutionists made 
armed resistance to the gendarmerie. 2 By her courageous 
bearing during trial and in prison, as also later in Kara, 
Maria Kovalevskaya became one of the best-known 
characters in revolutionary circles. In the prison, where 
she was witness of the shameless unfairness and bad faith 
of officials at every turn, her irrepressible energy found 
vent in upholding and defending the prisoners. Whether 
the matter were really serious, or a comparative trifle, 
whether the offence was committed by a functionary of 
high position or by the meanest underling, her determi- 
nation knew no compromise ; she made her protest 
regardless of consequence to herself, would not rest till she 

1 See portrait, p. 266. 

2 In this trial, of February, 1879, when the defendants were convicted of 
resisting arrest with arms in their hands, two men — Antonov and Brantner — 
were executed, the other ten condemned to long terms of penal servitude. 


had gained her end, and would rather have died than have 
given in. She always stood firmly for the tactics of the 
Buntari, i.e. to use the strongest and most radical measures 
for enforcing a protest against official oppression. If there 
were any discussion on this head her advice was always to 
annoy the staff actively, to break windows, furniture, etc. 
It was only her strong sense of comradeship that could 
induce her to bow to the will of the majority and adopt 
more passive means, such as hunger-strikes or boycotting 
officials. She had fought out a whole series of such 
conflicts, and one of them — a dispute at Kara — had led to 
her being removed, with three female comrades, to Irkutsk. 
No sooner, however, were they there than a contest arose 
with the head of the police ; and the four women in conse- 
quence refused food, fasting so long (ten or eleven days, I 
believe,) that the prison doctor became apprehensive of the 
result, and the pressure of public opinion being brought 
to bear on the governor of the district, he granted the 
requests of the women " politicals." 

At last, towards the middle of September, we arrived at 
Irkutsk, the capital of Siberia, and were taken to the local 
prison — celebrated like that of Kiev for many escapes of 
political prisoners. 1 

1 In February, 1880, eight "politicals" condemned to penal servitude 
escaped from Irkutsk prison by breaking through the walls : Berezniak 
(known also by the name of Tishtchenko), Voloshenko, Ivantchenko, Alex- 
ander Kalyitshny, Nicholas Posen, Popko, Fomitchov, and Yatsevitch. 
They were all recaptured and their sentences increased, Berezniak and 
Fomitchov being chained to the wheelbarrow. 

Another escape was that of two women, Sophia Bogomoletz and Elizabeth 
Kovalskaya, and they also were both recaptured after four weeks, but 
E. Kovalskaya again escaped and was again recaptured. There were executed 
in this prison : Lyochky, for unintentionally killing a warder, and Nyeiistroyev, 
a teacher in a gymnasium, for striking the Governor-General Anutchin when 
the latter was visiting the prison. Shtchedrin, sentenced to life-long penal 
servitude, was condemned to death for striking the governor's adjutant, but 
his sentence was reduced, and he was chained to the wheelbarrow. Later 
Shtchedrin was sent to Schlusselburg, still chained to the barrow, and there 
he went mad and died. 


We men were given a room in common, and the ladies 
were shown to another. The moment we were shut in 
I flew to the window, climbed up, and called the name 
of Maria Kovalevskaya, for we had soon found out that 
her cell was over ours. She answered at once, and we 
talked together far into the night. In our walks we had 
subsequently many opportunities of meeting during our 
eight days' stay here. The long years of separation had 
in no way impaired our intimacy. On the contrary, from 
the first moment of meeting, our mutual sympathy found 
expression without the need of many words, and we 
understood each other as old friends do. The sufferings 
she had undergone moved me to the deepest compassion. 
The hunger-strike of which I have spoken had taken place 
only a short time before our advent, and she bore terrible 
traces of its effect, looking as if but newly risen from the 
grave, though her spirit was unbroken. It was still the 
same enthusiastic, untameable, combative nature I had 
known so well. Even the officials could not withstand the 
fascination of her personality, but yielded respect to her 
strong sense of right and her inflexibility of purpose, 
as I soon observed. We had each, naturally, much to 
relate ; and I marvelled that she could have retained such 
elasticity of mind, that the range of her quick intellect 
should have in no wise contracted, that despite all she had 
gone through she could laugh and jest as ever. Every- 
thing that was going on in the distant lands of freedom 
interested her keenly ; she never wearied of questioning 
me about the state of public life in Western Europe and in 
Russia, and she soon managed to find out in what each of 
us could best instruct her. I, for instance, spent two or 
three evenings in describing to her the working-men's 
organisations in Western Europe, and giving her my own 
impressions of life abroad. It was characteristic of her 
that she was able to appreciate the peculiar social con- 
ditions of other countries, although there was so much 
that was unsympathetic to her as a Russian. She was 


especially indignant about my treatment in German 

In her own views she still adhered to the policy of the 
Buntari, and this could hardly have been otherwise. Her 
past life entirely belonged to the period when their views 
and those of the Narodniki governed the whole revolu- 
tionary movement, and there could be no question of 
criticism. The simple programme of "stirring up the 
people to uprisings and rebellions against the existing 
regime, in accordance with varying local circumstances," 
was in consonance with her fiery temperament, impatient 
of all restraint. 

Her three friends were also interesting characters, and 
I soon had opportunities of talking to them and hearing 
the story of their connection with the movement. First 
came the young Sophia Bogomoletz j 1 her maiden name 
had been Prisyetskaya, and she was the daughter of a rich 
landed proprietor in the government of Poltava. She had 
attended a higher grade school for girls, and later the 
medical course in Petersburg ; had married a physician, 
and then — like Maria Kovalevskaya — had left her husband 
and child to devote herself entirely to revolutionary work. 
In 1880 she was arrested as a member of the South 
Russian Workmen's Union and sentenced to ten years' 
penal servitude. She attempted to escape, 2 but was re- 
:aptured, and was then given five years more, which was 
igain increased by a year in consequence of a dispute with 
in official. Besides this she was placed in the category of 
( on probation " prisoners, which means, as I shall explain 
ater, 3 that the term of actual confinement in prison is 
engthened. She, too, was by nature an advocate of 
evolt, and throughout her imprisonment kept up a 
constant feud with the officials. She went even farther 
han her friend Kovalevskaya, for while the latter only 
ought against injustice and tyranny, Sophia Bogomoletz 
ooked on all prison officials as her natural enemies, and 

1 See portrait, p. 266. 2 See note, p. 189. s See p. 236. 


held even the smallest compromises, such as most prisoners 
are obliged more or less to give in to, as unprincipled and 
inadmissible ; for example, she looked upon the medical 
examination of prisoners as a personal insult. She was 
influenced by no considerations of health, and was always 
prepared to risk her own life, if she judged there was any 
reason for doing so. The staff simply trembled before 
her, for they knew that their only means of extorting 
submission — the fear of punishment — was here of no 

The story of the third member of this little band was as 
follows. In the spring of 1879 the sum of 1,500,000 roubles 
was stolen from the offices of the Finance Department in 
Kherson, the depredators having broken in through the 
wall of the adjoining house. On the same day the police 
arrested a woman driving through the town in a country 
cart with some suspicious-looking sacks. The woman was 
identified as Elena Rossikova, wife of a landed proprietor 
in the neighbourhood, and the sacks contained a million 
roubles. With her another lady was also arrested ; and in 
consequence of the latter's confession the rest of the money 
was found, with the exception of some 10,000 roubles. It 
turned out that this wild undertaking had been organised 
by Elena Rossikova, who had planned to rob the imperial 
purse, with the intention of applying the money to revolu- 
tionary purposes. She and some other persons implicated 
were tried before a court-martial, and she, as the ringleader, 
was sentenced to penal servitude for life. She, too, waged 
unceasing war against the whole staff of the prison, and 
was daunted by nothing when a " protest " was in question. 

The fourth of these women " politicals ' was Maria 
Kutitonskaya. She had been a pupil in a girls' school in 
Odessa, and while still very young had joined the revolu- 
tionists. In 1879 sne was arrested as a comrade of 
Lisogub 1 and Tchubarov, was condemned to four years' 

1 This revolutionist was very rich ; but lived in extreme poverty, that he 
might devote all his fortune to the cause. He was condemned to death in 


penal servitude, and sent to Kara. At the expiration of 
her sentence she was interned in the town of Aksha in 
Transbaikalia ; but she was soon back in prison. The 
authorities had ill-treated the male prisoners in Kara (as to 
which I shall speak later) ; and Kutitonskaya resolved to 
take vengeance on the chief offender in the matter, the 
governor of the province, Ilyashevitch by name. She 
fired a pistol at him, but missed. The court-martial con- 
demned her to death, but this was altered to lifelong 
penal servitude. 

Beautiful and distinguished-looking, with fair hair, and 
gentle, winning manners, Maria Kutitonskaya won hearts 
by the score. While she was under trial for the attempted 
issassination of the Siberian potentate she was subjected 
;o the most cruel and inhuman treatment ; thrown into a 
damp, gloomy dungeon, and allowed only bread and 
Abater. Help came to her from the ordinary convicts, who 
lad seen her in the prison, and worshipped her ; they 
Drought her food at great risk to themselves, and did her 
/arious other services. These criminals had changed her 
lame a little to suit themselves, and always called her 
1 Cupidonskaya " ; having thus unconsciously hit on a 
:harming pet-name for the beautiful woman. But for 
heir assistance she might not have survived her treatment 
it that time ; as it was, her long imprisonment undermined 
іег health, and she became a victim of lung trouble, to 
vhich she succumbed in .1887. 

879 solely for that reason, as he had carefully abstained — contrary to his 
wn most ardent inclinations — from giving any active help in the movement 
)r fear of compromising himself and thus forfeiting the wealth which was 
ractically supporting the party. See Stepniak's Underground Russia. — 




THE detailed narrative of all that these women had 
gone through impressed us greatly ; for their suffer- 
ings had been severe, and often caused by the most paltry 
tyranny. The wonder was that they had ever been able 
to hold out. Our indignation against the chief of police, 
under whose auspices this sort of thing had gone on, was 
naturally roused to such a pitch that we longed for an 
opportunity to testify our abhorrence of his conduct. This 
opportunity was soon forthcoming. A higher official from 
Petersburg, who was inspecting Siberian prisons, came one 
day with his suite into our cells, and the chief of police 
was in attendance. The moment he entered, Lazarev, 
our head-man, went up to him, (in accordance with a pre- 
determined agreement of our party,) and said in loud and 
distinct tones — 

" We are astonished at your impudence in daring to 
appear before our eyes, after having by your treatment 
forced our women comrades into a terrible hunger-strike." 

The whole company of our visitors hastily took their 
departure, to the tune of our comments and ejaculations, 
which contained nothing flattering to the evildoer ! No 



untoward results followed our action, and the ladies 
heartily rejoiced at this humiliation of their torturer. 

From these four we heard much about the conditions 
of life in Kara, our appointed destination ; as also from 
another comrade now in Irkutsk, who could give us his 
personal experience of the prison there. This was Ferdi- 
nand Lustig — formerly an artillery officer, and afterwards 
a student at the Petersburg Technological Institute — 
who had been sentenced in 1882, in the case of Suhanov 
and Mihailov, to four years' penal servitude. He had now 
ended his term in Kara, and was going to be interned 
elsewhere, under police supervision. What he told us was 
not comforting : the regime was severe, and the governor 
of the political prison — a captain of gendarmerie, named 
Nikolin — of the worst repute. 

Four of us only were to travel eastward together : Maria 
Kalyushnaya, Tchuikov, Lazarev, and myself. The other 
seven were to be sent to various places in the government 
of Irkutsk ; and the nineteen-year-old Rubinok, whose 
sad case I have already described, was to go northward to 
the deserts of Yakutsk. 

At the end of September we started, in company with 
a party of ordinary prisoners. We had now before us 
a journey of some twelve hundred versts (eight hundred 
miles), which would take at least two months. Winter 
in Siberia begins much earlier than in other places of the 
same latitude, even in European Russia, and therefore we 
had to expect many hardships. In two days the last 
steamboat was to start for Listvinitchnaya, across Lake 
Baikal, and if we missed that we should have to winter 
in Irkutsk. 

The tempestuous Baikal treated us kindly on the whole, 
though usually the autumnal storms are a real danger to 
voyagers on its waters. It is often asserted that the 
scenery of its shores rivals that of the Swiss mountain 
lakes ; and without myself instituting any comparison, 

i 9 6 FROM IRKUTSK TO KARA [chap. 

I can vouch for it that the impression those magnificent 
hills made on me was unforgettable. 

We had to pass a night at the landing-station on the 
opposite shore — Mysovaya ; and we had been already 
shut into our prison, when the grating of the lock again 
sounded, and the warder brought in a young lady, who 
came straight towards me. 

" Sonia ! " I cried, in joyful surprise, as I recognised in 
her Sophia Ivanova, a dear friend whom I had not seen 
for six years. Like Sophia Perovskaya, Vera Figner, and 
other prominent women of the terrorist organisation, she 
had joined the new party of the Narbdnaia Vblya in the 
autumn of 1879, when the society of Zemlyct i Vblya 
(Land and Liberty) was dissolved. It was just during 
that transition period that I became acquainted with her 
and with other Terrorists ; and shortly after, in January, 
1880, she was arrested in Petersburg, where she had been 
assisting at the secret printing-press whence issued the 
organ of the party, named like it, Narbdnaia Vblya (The 
People's Will). At the time of the arrest an armed 
resistance was made, in which Sophia Ivanova took an 
active part, for which she was condemned to four years' 
" katorga." 1 This sentence having been fulfilled, she was 
now being sent for internment into the government of 

We were both heartily rejoiced at seeing one another 
again, but our meeting could be only a brief one ; the 
steamboat was to start almost directly on its return 
journey, and Sonia could not miss it. We hurriedly ex- 
changed news of ourselves and of our common friends; 
then came our parting, and I have never seen her since. 
To the best of my knowledge she is still living in Siberia. 

Soon after this we arrived at Verkhny-Udinsk, where — 
as in most Siberian towns — the prison was filled to over- 
flowing, and no room could be found for us "politicals." 

1 i.e. penal servitude. — Trans. 


The sergeant (in Transbaikalia the convoys of prisoners 
are always commanded by a sergeant, instead of by a 
commissioned officer, as on the previous part of the 
journey) took us on to the police-station. As, however, 
it was late the place was all deserted, and no official 
could be found, which disturbed the sergeant no whit ; 
he simply left us there by ourselves in the office, with 
unbolted windows and doors, and went his way. We also 
were free to go or stay as we pleased, and were rather 
surprised at his calm way of solving the difficulty. But 
the man knew what he was about. It was true enough 
that we could walk off without anyone being the wiser ; 
but what then ? It was, indeed, always easy to escape 
from prison here ; but it was well-nigh impossible to get 
any further. Elizabeth Kovalskaya had twice escaped 
from prison in Irkutsk (once disguised as a warder), but 
on both occasions she was caught before she had left the 
town ; and if she had found concealment impossible in 
a relatively big place like Irkutsk, with all the allies and 
money she had at command, the case must certainly 
have been hopeless for us, strangers, in a little hole like 
Verkhny-Udinsk. Still, it was a curious feeling at the 
time, as I well remember, to know oneself free and under 
no kind of observation, and yet to be so helpless. We 
finished by waxing restive and miserable over the trap 
we were in. 

In this place we met another comrade on his way from 
Kara, going off to be interned elsewhere. This was 
Steblin-Kamensky, 1 whom his wife voluntarily accom- 
panied. They had been too late for the steamer, and were 
now obliged to wait in Verkhny-Udinsk till the way again 
became open — three or four months probably. During 
that time he was at liberty to go about in the place as he 
pleased, and naturally we spent together the two days of 

1 In 1879 he had been condemned, at the same time as Maria Kovalevs- 
kaya, to ten years' "katorga," for armed resistance to the police. He after- 
wards committed suicide in Irkutsk. 

i 9 8 FROM IRKUTSK TO KARA [chap. 

our sojourn here, Kamensky telling us all he could of life 
in Kara. He was a brilliant talker, and described with an 
inexhaustible flow of humour the doings of our comrades 
in every particular. True, our laughter over his stories 
was mingled with much sorrow and indignation, for what 
he related was often sad enough. He told us of the bitter 
hardships inflicted on our comrades by an inhuman gaoler, 
and he described Captain Nikolin, in command over the 
penal settlement for " politicals " at Kara, as a malicious, 
ill-natured man, continually devising petty humiliations for 
the prisoners. 

These various comrades, from whose personal know- 
ledges we had information about Kara, all made the same 
impression upon us. They bore the stamp of their long 
imprisonment ; their voices were muffled in tone ; anxiety, 
deep and constant, was painted on their faces ; the hair of 
nearly all, despite their youth — hardly any had reached 
thirty — was prematurely grey. But discouraged and 
broken-spirited they were not ; or at least with one or two 
exceptions only. Very few of them could regard the 
future with any hopeful feelings for themselves personally. 
Long years of exile lay before them, doomed as they were 
to vegetate in some forsaken corner of Siberia, victims to 
all sorts of hardships, far from friends and civilisation. 
To many it seemed questionable whether their future lot 
might not be more dreary than prison life itself. Yet even 
the semblance of freedom attracted them — a doubtful 
freedom certainly, for the exiles, or "colonists" as they 
are called, are subject to a thousand and one restrictions 
at every turn. 

I met one only who looked forward with a steadfast 
confidence in the bright side of things, and this notwith- 
standing the fact that he was bound for the worst part of 
Siberia — the government of Yakutsk. Ivan Kashintsev 1 

1 He was sentenced to ten years' " katorga '" in 1881 for taking part in the 
South Russian Workmen's Union, and in consequence of the Coronation 
manifesto a third of this sentence was remitted. 


was then only twenty-five, and full of youth and high 
spirits ; he declared to me, on the occasion of our meeting 
at one of the halting-stations (we already knew each other), 
that he meant to escape at all hazards. This, in fact, he 
accomplished later, and he is now living abroad. 

Before those who were released from prison, to live in 
exile under police supervision, reached their appointed 
destinations, they had at that time many difficulties and 
delays to encounter. We ourselves went at a snail's pace 
on our way to Kara, but prisoners coming thence pro- 
gressed far more slowly. They had to wait at nearly 
every halting-station until some convoy on the homeward 
journey could pick them up and take them on for a certain 
part of the way, and sometimes they were kept in this 
manner nearly a week at a station. On an average they 
barely made five versts a day, and when the distance they 
had to travel was some hundreds or even thousands of 
versts, the journey might take months to perform. 

At each meeting with comrades on the return journey 
from Kara, I could not help thinking of my own future, 
and saying to myself, " What will you feel like when after 
long years you tread this path again ? Or, indeed, will 
you ever tread it ? " 

One day I found I had sustained an odd loss : someone 
had made off with a bag in which I kept some of my 
belongings, the chief item among them being my fetters ! 
I had to make the somewhat curious confession to the 
commanding officer that, instead of wearing my chains, 
I had allowed them to be stolen ; and I was rather sur- 
prised that, while commiserating me on account of my 
personal losses, he did not seem at all agitated about the 
loss of the Government's property. 

" What am I to do without my fetters ? " I asked him, 
when I saw that the absence of this important detail in the 
attire of a convict left him unmoved. 


" Well, of course we must get some for you somehow," 
opined the officer. " Just wait a moment ; there ought to 
be things of the kind lying about somewhere." And he 
gave the sergeant orders to look in the lumber-room, where 
a new pair of fetters was discovered. 

" Take care you don't lose these ! " said the officer, as I 
packed them among my luggage. 

This is a specimen of the indulgent, almost fatherly 
demeanour which our guardians more and more assumed 
towards us as we got further east. 

We were by this time in the thick of the Siberian winter 
and its severities. We had passed the Yablonovoi moun- 
tain ridges, and were nearing Tchita, the capital of Trans- 
baikalia. At the last station before our arrival there we 
observed a great bustle going on among the ordinary 
prisoners ; the sergeant and the soldiers were occupied 
with them all night, continually going in and out in a 
quite unusual manner. We racked our brains to imagine 
what could be on foot ; but the riddle was only solved next 
day, as will be seen further. 

Although the distance from Tchita was considerable for 
one day's inarch, — about forty versts (twenty-six miles), I 
think, — we started very late on the following morning ; but 
after about twenty versts' march we came to a lonely farm- 
house, standing all by itself on the high-road. We had 
heard from our comrades who had been in Kara that an 
old man lived here who gave himself out as a Decabrist. 1 

Our party halted in the courtyard, we " politicals " were 
shown into a room, and the master of the house presently 
paid us a visit. He introduced himself by the name of 
Karovaiev ; and was a vivacious old gentleman, of emi- 
nently respectable appearance. According to his account 
of himself he had been an ensign in the Guards, had taken 
part in the revolt of the Decabrists, and had been exiled to 
Siberia ; he claimed to be eighty years of age, but did not 

1 The participators in the revolt of December, 1825, on the occasion of 
Nicholas I.'s accession, were so called. 


look more than sixty-five. He made himself very agree- 
able, and was most anxious to show us hospitality, declining 
to take any money from us. Meanwhile in the next room 
and the corridor things were very lively ; there seemed to 
be a sort of combined market and feast going on, soldiers 
and convicts eating, drinking, and hobnobbing together like 
boon companions. 

It was already dark when we arrived at the gates of the 
prison in Tchita, where we had at once to engage in a 
struggle with the governor : first, because he received the 
ordinary prisoners first, leaving us to wait ; and next, 
because he gave us a room which was absolutely unfit for 
us to spend the night in. Only after we had made a great 
fuss, and threatened him with complaints, did he give us 
proper accommodation. 

Next day, when the party was mustered for departure, 
it became apparent that the ordinary prisoners had hardly 
any clothes ! Their things had vanished, and they were 
literally half naked. A light was now cast on the events 
of the preceding night, when there had been such a 
carousal at the house of the Decabrist. That respect- 
able and hospitable old gentleman was evidently in league 
with the escort, and had provided the convicts with vodka 
and other delicacies, in exchange for their clothing, which 
no doubt he had obtained at a bargain. That the trans- 
action might not be discovered before our arrival in Tchita, 
the soldiers saw to it that it should be as late as possible 
before we got in, so that the inspection should be gone 
through hurriedly, and the absence of the clothes not 

In short, the respectable Karovaiev had not established 
himself in that lonely spot for nothing. The jollification 
of the unlucky criminals had evil consequences for them- 
selves. In proportion as their clothing and other State 
property were deficient they were treated to the soundest 
of thrashings ; and only when that had been administered 
did they receive a fresh outfit. 


In Tchita we had to part from our good starosta Lazarev, 
who was to be interned here. We three others determined 
to secure for ourselves a thorough rest in this place ; for 
we had been six weeks on the march from Irkutsk, and 
were thoroughly tired out. We felt in no hurry to go on ; 
a prison awaited us, while on the journey we had at least 
a certain amount of freedom and variety. Moreover, we 
knew that there w r ere a numberi|Df our comrades interned 
at Tchita, and we should be able to see something of them ; 
while apparently all intercourse with the outer world would 
cease for us after this stage, where we must make our last 
adieux before the prison doors closed on us. We there- 
fore reported ourselves sick, and easily got the prison 
doctor's consent to our breaking the journey here ; which 
meant that we should be picked up by the next convoy in 
about a fortnight's time. Our comrades paid us frequent 
visits ; that is, they came to the prison gate when we were 
in the courtyard. The most interesting news they gave 
us concerned the travels of the American writer, George 
Kennan, who had just arrived in Tchita on his return 
journey from Kara ; and our friends were full of praise for 
that excellent man. 

During the last days of November we started again, this 
time in company with a so-called " family party " of 
ordinary prisoners — women and children as well as men 
going forward to prison and exile. There had not been 
much snow that winter, and instead of sledges two-wheeled 
carts were our means of transport, travelling in which was 
a positive martyrdom. The cold became more intense 
every day, and tried us severely, although we wore every 
warm garment we possessed, so that we moved with the 
greatest difficulty. The only way to keep warm was to 
march beside the carts, and one can imagine the sufferings 
of the unfortunate children who were accompanying their 
parents into this inhospitable desert. One longed for the 
next halting-station and for possibilities of warming one- 
self, which even there were not always all that could be 


desired. The halting-stations had sometimes not been 
heated for a good while, and the ordinary prisoners had 
first to chop wood with their numb and frozen hands; even 
then there was not always sufficient fuel. The stoves, too, 
were often out of order, and smoked so badly that to stay 
in the room was a misery. It happened repeatedly that 
we three " politicals " were accommodated in a peasant's 
hut, and sometimes the whole party had to be quartered 
in like manner. We were always glad when this happened, 
for the wretchedest cabin seemed comfortable in com- 
parison with even the best etape. How often we wished 
we could be by ourselves in a hut of this kind during the 
rest of our imprisonment ! 

I have said that relations between prisoners and escort 
were now very easy-going ; strict discipline was no longer 
the watchword on either side. This had its disadvantages, 
the soldiers being often very rough with the ordinary 
prisoners. One day, as we were marching to Nertchinsk, 
I saw a soldier behaving very brutally to a poor feeble 
old convict, knocking him about with his rifle-butt for 
climbing on to one of the carts, and apparently only be- 
cause the soldier had meant to ride on it himself. I inter- 
vened, and called to the sergeant in command that I 
should report him for not keeping his men in order. Next 
day, as we went through the town on our way to the prison, 
I stepped into a sausage shop to buy some provisions, 
when the soldier whose party I had left called after me, 
" Where are you going ? What do you want ? ,; I let 
him shout, and concluded my purchases. I then saw 
that the sergeant had driven on and disappeared, but 
I only thought that he had taken some short cut to the 
prison and would meet us there, and I was much sur- 
prised when the governor of the gaol received me 
with the information that the sergeant had reported me 
for insulting the guard and leaving the ranks without 
permission. I suppose he wished to forestall the com- 


plaint I had threatened him with, about which I had quite 
forgotten, and I now turned the tables on him by making 
it in due form. The upshot was that the sergeant apolo- 
gised to me in the presence of witnesses, and we were 
respectively pleased to withdraw our complaints ! 

At Nertchinsk, Tchuikov and I were taken to the men's 
prison, and Maria Kalyushnaya was given a separate cell. 
I shall never in my life forget the picture that prison 
presented. From the dimly-lighted corridor one could see 
into the various rooms, where the prisoners were already 
lying down, as it was late. Packed closely side by side 
they lay not only on the wooden bed-places (which were 
two wide shelves running along the walls one above 
the other), but all about the floor ; there was literally not 
an inch of vacant space. Most of the men were clad in 
shirt and trousers, but many had only trousers on, and lay 
uncovered on the filthy floor. The throng was so dense, 
that in order to get to the " privileged " room we had 
actually to step on the bodies of the sleepers. The stench 
was pestilential, the wooden tubs filled with excrement 
were everywhere about, and as they were leaky their 
contents had been trodden over the whole floor. Although 
most of the men were asleep, here and there groups of 
excited card-players squatted on the floor or the bed- 
places, and throughout the whole place there was a 
deafening babel of sounds. The general effect was most 
gruesome, a circle of the Dantean Inferno was the only 
possible comparison. 

The " privileged " room was also full of people, and we 
found there some comrades from Kara — Tchekondze and 
Zuckermann. They were lying close together on the 
crowded floor, and we with difficulty found a vacant spot, 
so that we could lie down near our friends. Zuckermann 
was known to me: he was a compositor, who in the middle 
of the sixties had trudged on foot from Berlin into 
Switzerland, where I subsequently had made his acquaint- 
ance. He had gone to Russia later, and had worked at 


the secret printing-press of the Narbdnaia Vblya, where 
he was arrested at the same time as Sophia Ivanova. 
I had been told by comrades how heroically he had 
behaved during the trial. In order to shield the others he 
had taken all blame on his own shoulders, declared that it 
was he who had fired the first shot in resistance to the 
gendarmerie, and so on. He had been condemned to 
eight years' " katorga " and sent to Kara, where he had 
become the darling of the whole prison. Always sunny- 
tempered, full of wit and fun/ he spread good humour 
everywhere ; moreover, he was unselfishness personified, 
ever ready to help others at his own expense, one of those 
people who are called " too good for this world." Even as 
we lay on the floor in that horrible place he told stories 
and jested, drawing the most glowing imaginary pictures 
of his future life in Yakutsk, whither he was being sent 
for internment. The reality, unhappily, turned out widely 
different from his sanguine prophecies. Poor merry 
Zuckermann could not hold out against the hardships 
and loneliness of his place of exile, and he put an end 
to his own life. 

Tchekondze I had not met before, but we had many 
common friends. He came from Gruzia, and had graduated 
in the Petersburg college for artillery officers. With other 
Caucasians he had then participated in the Propagandist 
movement, had been arrested in 1875, an d sentenced 
in the " Trial of the fifty " to banishment ; but he had 
escaped from Siberia, and had been recaptured and con- 
demned to three years' penal servitude. He was now 
going into exile in Yakutsk. He impressed one as a strong- 
willed, careful, practical man, who would never be at a loss, 
but would find a sphere of usefulness under any circum- 
stances ; and so indeed he proved in his after life. The 
privations he suffered during long years of exile under- 
mined his health, however. When sent to Western Siberia 
in the early nineties he fell seriously ill and died in Kurgan, 
on the threshold of Europe, in 1897. 


At last, on the morning of December 24th, 1885, w e 
arrived at Ust-Kara, a little village wherein is situated the 
prison for ordinary convicts and the prison for women 
" politicals." Here we had to part from Maria Kalyush- 
naya, and I saw her that morning for the last time. 
Tchuikov and I had fifteen versts more to travel to Nizhnaya 
Kara, where was the prison for male " politicals " ; and we 
had to wait till next day for the commandant, who received 
in charge both ourselves and the ordinary criminals. Our 
luggage was put into a cart ; and accompanied by a guard, 
we marched off, having previously donned our fetters in 
due form. 

It was a frightfully cold day, and despite the chains and 
our heavy clothing, we stepped out briskly as though we 
were in a hurry to get under lock and key. We knew 
that this was our last tramp in the open, that for many 
long years there would be only a trot round the prison- 
yard for us, and our thoughts dwelt dismally on the 

" There is your prison," said one of the soldiers, and 
pointed out, a little way ahead, a stockade made of tall 
posts set side by side. 

Suddenly there appeared coming towards us a group of 
people — two women, a Cossack, and a man in civilian 
dress. " Victor ! n I cried, recognising the latter as we 
approached nearer. It was my old friend Victor Kos- 
tyurin, whom I had not seen for nine years. 1 He was 
now being removed from prison to his place of internment. 

After hasty greetings he introduced me to the two ladies 
who accompanied him — Natalia Armfeld and Raissa 
Prybylyeva, both " colonists " in Kara. Kennan has given 
Natalia Armfeld's story in his book, 2 and I will only 
mention here that in 1879 sne (with Maria Kovalevskaya) 
was implicated in armed resistance to the gendarmerie, 

1 He had been sentenced in 1879 t0 ten years' "katorga," on account 
of the assault on Gorinovitch (see page 11). 

2 Siberia and the Exile System , by George Kennan. 


and sentenced to fourteen years and ten months' penal 
servitude. Raissa Prybylyeva had been a member of the 
Narodnaia Vofya, and had been sentenced in 1883 to four 
years' " katorga." 

Victor and I had, of course, much to say to each other, 
but our time was short, for our guards naturally did not 
see the fun of remaining longer than necessary in the 
freezing cold of the open field, and a few brief sentences 
were all we could exchange. 

" A Frenchman would have had a lot to say about this," 
I said : " we two friends meeting on the threshold of a 
prison, one going in, the other coming out." 

Another pressure of the hand, and we parted. 1 

" Shall we ever meet again ? " I asked. 

" Ah yes ! " cried one of the ladies. " We shall all meet 
in Petersburg at the triumph of the Russian revolution." 

For her, at least, that hope was vain. Natalia Armfeld 
died at Kara in 1887, an d Raissa Prybylyeva (who married 
afterwards the exile Tiutchev) is also no longer among 
the living. Kostyurin still lives in Tobolsk ; but since 
that day our paths have never again crossed. 

Tchuikov and I were now taken to the guard-room, 
which was close to the prison. Our arrival was notified ; 
and soon there appeared, accompanied by some of the 
gendarmes, the governor of the prison, an officer of 
Cossacks named Bolshakov, a man who had been described 
to us by our comrades as respectable and humane. 

We and our luggage were carefully searched. Of our 
clothes only our warm under-garments were left in our 
possession ; everything else was to be taken to the ward- 
robe-room, except certain articles which were reserved that 

1 Everyone will see the dramatic element in this situation if it is remembered 
that this friend had been tried and condemned on account of that attempt to 
kill the spy Gorinovitch, in which Deutsch had been the chief actor ; and that 
now the one had just finished his term of imprisonment, while the other was 
commencing his. — Trans. 

2o8 FROM IRKUTSK TO KARA [chap, xxi 

Commandant Nikolin might decide whether we should be 
permitted to retain possession of them. 

" You need not put the fetters on again," said the 
captain of the guard, Golubtsov. " They are not necessary 

It was evening before we were ready to be taken on by 
the gendarmes to the prison — the goal of my long wander- 
ings. Since my arrest in Freiburg twenty-two months had 
elapsed; I had travelled about 12,000 versts (nearly 8,000 
miles), and I had visited more than a hundred different 

" Guard, there! " cried our escort. A bolt flew back with 
a crash, and we stepped across the threshold. 







To face page 208 



WE entered a long, dimly-lighted corridor. Close to 
the door stood a man in convict dress beside a 
mighty chest. " Good day, Martinovsky ! " said I ; for 
although I had never seen him before, I knew from our 
comrades' descriptions that he, being starosta, remained 
on duty from early morning till late evening by this big 
chest, which was the prisoners' larder. He looked a little 
surprised at the greeting, but on our announcing our 
names a pleasant smile lighted up his grave features, and 
he shook hands with us warmly. 

" Deutsch goes to No. 2 and Tchuikov to No. 4 ! ' The 
gendarme's announcement interrupted us. A door was 
opened, and I stepped into my room. It was a large 
apartment ; a long table and benches stood in the middle ; 
round three walls ran the bed-shelves ; there was a huge 
stove, and three great windows admitted plenty of light. 

My new companions welcomed me warmly. There 
were fifteen men in the room, two of them — Sundelevitch 
and Paul Orlov — being already known to me from of old. 
The first question to be settled was where my sleeping- 
place should be, and it was decided that I should lie next 
to Sundelevitch, which meant that Starinkyevitch, whose 
place this had been, must find room elsewhere. I found 
later that it was a great sacrifice this comrade had made 
for me, for Starinkyevitch was thereby separated from his 
friend Martinovsky. In a room where so many men lived 
constantly crowded together, the only possibility of close 
p 209 

2io FIRST DAYS AT KARA [chap. 

intercourse and the sharing of intimate thoughts between 
two friends was when they lay side by side on the bed- 
shelf, and it was only subsequently that I found out what 
significance this had in our situation. 

When we arrived, supper was already over, but we were 
given each a glass of tea with a tiny scrap of sugar, and a 
piece of black bread. I was overwhelmed with questions, 
and was made to tell all about my arrest, my adventures, 
and what was going on in Russia. We chattered, joked, and 
laughed as only the young can, for except Berezniak and 
Dzvonkyevitch, who were forty and forty-five respec- 
tively, we were all between the ages of twenty-four and 
thirty. I had an odd feeling, as if after a long absence 
I found myself once more in an intimate family circle. 
Time flew, and it was late at night before I lay down 
to sleep, spreading on the wooden boards of the bed-shelf 
a little mattress that I had brought with me. My journey 
from Moscow had lasted seven months ; I was sick of 
moving about, and now experienced a real feeling of com- 
fort at the idea of having come to anchor for years. 

I had been rejoicing much beforehand at the prospect 
of meeting in Kara my old friend Jacob Stefanovitch, 1 

1 See portrait, p. 112. Stefanovitch was one of the most prominent of the 
Terrorists, who, helped chiefly by Deutsch and Bohanovsky, succeeded in in- 
structing and organising several thousands of peasants, and was on the point 
of heading their insurrection when he was arrested in 1877. Stefanovitch, 
Deutsch, and Bohanovsky were imprisoned at Kiev, and their escape thence 
has been related (note, p. 98). Stepniak describes Stefanovitch (see Under- 
ground Russia^ Jacob Stefanovic b and Two Escapes) as of very strong and 
original character, extremely reserved, speaking rarely, and, though a man of 
action, very cautious and practical. He was the son of a village priest, and 
kept up constant intercourse with his old father, even when it was most dan- 
gerous for him to do so, at a time when whole cities would be thrown into a 
ferment if his presence in them were suspected. His personal appearance 
Stepniak describes thus : " He was of middle height, and somewhat slender, 
hollow-chested, and with narrow shoulders. Physically, he must have been 
very weak. I never saw an uglier man. He had the face of a negro, or rather 
of a Tartar, prominent cheek-bones, a large mouth, and a flat nose. But it 
was an attractive ugliness. Intelligence shone forth from his grey eyes. His 
smile had something of the malign and of the subtly sportive, like the 


from whom I had last parted four years ago, in Switzer- 
land. He had then returned to Russia, had been arrested 
in February, 1882, convicted in the "Case of the Seven- 
teen," and sentenced to eight years' " katorga." He had 
been two years in Kara before my arrival. As he was 
lodged in another room I could only pay him a flying 
visit that evening, for soon after our entrance the rounds 
were made and the doors all locked for the night. Next 
morning, as soon as the rounds had been made and the 
roll-call got over, I called to the gendarmes through the 
peephole in our door, and made them take me to No. 1 
room, where Stefanovitch was. During the daytime we 
were permitted to go from one room to another — a 
privilege obtained by the " politicals " only after a long, 
hard fight, although in the criminals' prison the doors of 
the rooms had never been kept locked by day. 

In No. 1 there were also sixteen men, that being the 
complete number ; and now that we had arrived every 
room was full. After greeting the comrades here and 
chatting with my friend, I visited all the other rooms. 
Of course, the advent of a new-comer is a great event in 
the prison, and is generally expected beforehand, for not- 
withstanding all official precaution, a good deal of intelli- 
gence from without finds its way through the walls. The 
arrival is awaited with the greatest impatience, as may be 
imagined ; and for a few days the monotony of the life is 
enlivened by the new-comer's tidings of the world in 
general and of the revolutionary movement in particular. 

Not only had I much to tell, but I was much interested 
in learning the views of my comrades, though all that I 

character of the Ukrainian race to which he belongs. When he mentioned 
some clever trick played off upon the police he laughed most heartily, and 
showed his teeth, which were very fine and white as ivory. His entire 
countenance, with his wrinkled forehead and his cold, firm look, expressed a 
resolution and at the same time a self-command which nothing could disturb. 
I observed that in speaking he did not use the slightest gesture." Stefanovitch 
has now (1903) been over twenty years in Siberia. It was expected that in May 
this year he would be liberated so far as to be permitted to reside in some out- 
lying province of European Russia, but this hope has not been realised. — Trans. 

2i2 FIRST DAYS AT KARA [chap. 

heard was not entirely to my liking. I recollect a conver- 
sation I had with an old acquaintance, Voloshenko, 1 who 
passed for a very intelligent man. He had been arrested 
at Kiev in 1879, an< 3 sentenced to ten years' penal servitude, 
afterwards increased by eleven years more in consequence 
of an attempted escape. When I spoke of the new ten- 
dencies in the Russian revolutionary movement, and men- 
tioned that a Socialist group had been formed calling itself 
the " League for the Emancipation of Labour," and pro- 
fessing the Marxian views held by the German Social 
Democrats, Voloshenko seemed highly amused. 

" Social Democrats in Russia ! That's a comical idea ! 
Who are these people ? " 

" You see one of them before you," I replied. 

Voloshenko and many others in the room stared in 
blank astonishment. Had I announced myself a follower 
of the prophet Mahomet they could scarcely have been 
more surprised. The ideas of Karl Marx were at that time 
but little known in Russia. It was indeed thought one's 
duty to read the first volume of Das Kapital, which had 
appeared in a Russian translation, and it was usual to find 
educated people in European Russia recognising Marx's 
services to the science of political economy ; but in Kara 
they had not progressed even so far. As to the philo- 
sophical basis of Marx's theory of Socialism practically 
nothing was known ; nevertheless it was rejected, partly 
owing to the influence of Eugene DUhring, partly to 
that of the Russian author N. Mihailovsky, and finally on 
account of a dictum of so-called " sane common sense " 
that Marx's ideas were quite inapplicable to Russia. This 
last was Voloshenko's contention, fortified, however, by no 
personal knowledge of Marx's writings. 

I was in a position to give more than verbal tidings of 
the new tendency. We had succeeded, despite all official 
scrutiny, in smuggling various prohibited writings into the 
prison, and among them the first publication of our group, 

1 See note, p. 189. 


Plehanov's Socialism and the Political Struggle. For a 
long time no forbidden literature had penetrated to Kara ; 
the excitement was great, and the new material for 
thought was seized on with avidity. I was very anxious 
to discover Sundelevitch's attitude towards this problem, 
for in the old days, when we were nearly all Terrorists, he 
was considered as more or less of a Social Democrat — at 
any rate, he had been known to approve of the German 
development on those lines, so far as that country was 
concerned. We had been acquainted in 1878, when he 
had in charge the transport of forbidden literature for the 
Zemlya i Vblya (Land and Liberty) group ; and he had 
made use of his special experience in such illegal traffic 
to get Stefanovitch and myself safely across the frontier 
after our flight from Kiev prison. At that time we had 
had many hot discussions with Sundelevitch over the 
methods of conducting our struggle in Russia ; for I was 
then a decided opponent of the Social Democrats, and as a 
Terrorist and " Narodnik " {i.e. member of the party whose 
object it was to organise revolts among the peasants) held 
the peaceful tactics of German Socialists to be utterly 
ineffectual — naturally, therefore, I would have all the more 
scouted the idea of introducing them into Russia. Sun- 
delevitch, on the contrary, did not believe in " the People," 
and thought agitation among the Russian working-classes 
quite futile. In his opinion the first thing to do was to 
fight for political freedom ; and then, as soon as that was 
obtained, to resort to the constitutional methods of the 
German Social-Democratic party. Consequently, he did 
not join the terrorist party till it began its political activity 
in 1878 ; and he was one of the first to enunciate the idea 
that its methods were only temporarily adopted because 
they offered the sole possible means in Russia of over- 
throwing the existing political order. He was one of the 
most energetic in organising terrorist conspiracies, and the 
party owed much to his help in carrying through their 
active work ; he was invaluable in striking out the most 

2i4 FIRST DAYS AT KARA [chap. 

effective and practical suggestions. He was arrested quite 
by chance in a public library in Petersburg during the 
autumn of 1879, an d was prosecuted in the "Case of the 
Sixteen," when Kviatkovsky and Pressnyakov were sen- 
tenced to death, and he himself to lifelong penal 

I had been thinking much about our former arguments, 
for I had since been converted to the views Sundelevitch 
then advocated, and I now hoped to find a kindred spirit 
in him. Even on purely personal grounds I desired it ; 
for when a man is convinced of the Tightness of his own 
plan of action, it must be irksome to live for years with 
others who, while sharing his principles, differ entirely as 
to the best means of carrying them out ; and this is 
especially so when what one holds most sacred is in 
question, no matter how tolerant one may be. I earnestly 
hoped I should not be alone in my views, and I could have 
asked for no better friend than Sundelevitch, who was 
incomparable as a comrade — one of the finest natures I 
have ever known, unselfish, trustworthy, judicious. 

As I now lay beside him during the long evenings we 
talked of our common friends still in freedom and fighting 
for the cause, of the victims of that fight who had died the 
death of heroes or were languishing in Schliisselburg; but 
instinctively I shrank at first from touching on theoretical 
subjects, dreading that we might be out of sympathy, for 
I soon heard that he was no longer of his old way of 
thinking. Like many others during their first years of 
imprisonment, Sundelevitch experienced a reaction ; he 
absolutely threw over the Marxian doctrine, and would 
not admit the economic teaching of Das Kapital to be 
sound. In time we fought many a tough battle on this 
head, my friend declaring that for Germans Social Demo- 
cracy might do, but that such ideas would never effect 
anything in Russia. 

With my other friend, Stefanovitch, I had less oppor- 
tunity for conversation, as we inhabited different rooms; 

xxii] THE "NOBLES' ROOM" 215 

but to him also my opinions came unexpectedly, and 
seemed strange and incomprehensible. When we had 
parted four years back we had been quite at one, and he 
had remained, as he was then, half Narodnik, half Terrorist; 
while I, having thoroughly assimilated the new ideas, had, 
with some other companions, founded the Social Demo- 
cratic organisation, Tchbrny Peredyel ( Red i vision of the 
Land). He learned this now for the first time, and could 
not tell off-hand how he should regard it ; but being un- 
usually thoughtful and far-seeing, he appreciated the im- 
portance of the change that had come over the opinions 
of his comrades in the struggle. He grasped the trend of 
the new doctrine, and tried to comprehend it fully. It was 
clear to him that through our organisation a way was 
being laid in Russia for a perfectly new outlook on the 
world ; he doubted whether it would find favour in our 
country, but was far from meeting the idea with enmity or 
contempt, as the shallower minds among the revolutionists 
did both then and later. 

This common life of so many young people in the 
prison had led to the development of a peculiar jargon. 
Each room had its nickname: the first was "the Sanhedrin," 
the second " the nobles' room," the third " Yakutsk," and 
the fourth " Volost," i.e. " the commune." These names 
had their origin in the dim and distant past, and I never 
discovered what had given rise to them. 

• The inmates of the rt nobles' room," in which I was 
located, were all clever, well-educated young men, full 
of life and vigour ; each in a way represented a different 
type, and some had a really remarkable force of character. 
Among these latter I would especially class Nicholas 
Yatzevitch, who was the son of a priest in Poltava. 
When a seventeen-year-old student in the Veterinary 
College at Kharkov he was arrested for attempting to 
rescue Alexei Medvediev 1 from prison, was tried, and 
sentenced to fifteen years' "katorga." He had escaped 

1 See chap. xxv. p. 262. 

2i6 FIRST DAYS AT KARA [chap. 

(as I have said before) from the Irkutsk prison, had been 
recaptured, and condemned to another fc jrteen years' penal 
servitude. He was barely nineteen when brought to Kara, 
where he gained the goodwill of everyone by his admir- 
able qualities. Modest even to bashfulness, silent and 
reserved, he yet exercised over his companions a quite 
wonderful influence. His thirst for knowledge was without 
limit ; he studied various subjects with unflagging industry 
while in prison, especially natural science, philosophy, and 
literature, besides learning several languages. He found 
time, too, for manual work, at which he proved himself 
very quick and adroit. He was on friendly terms with 
every one of his comrades in prison without exception, 
always affectionate and ready to help. No wonder he 
gained the esteem of all, and was willingly looked up 
to as an authority, despite his youth (he was but five-and- 
twenty when I first went to Kara) ; whether the question 
were one of household affairs or an abstruse theoretical 
problem, his opinion was sure to find favour with the 
majority. The bent of his mind was towards metaphysics, 
and in philosophy as well as social science he gave himself 
out as an eclectic ; he shared the opinions of Duhring 
and the Neo-Kantians, and in political economy was a 
follower of Carey, Bastian, and similar bourgeois theorists. 
Of course, therefore, he counted among the opponents of 

Of very different character were the two bosom friends 
Martinovsky and Starinkyevitch, usually called " the two 
Vanitchki," though really only one of them answered to 
the name of Ivan. Starinkyevitch was another favourite 
of our little society, invariably good-tempered and full 
of fun. His jokes, bon-mots, and nonsense would often 
send us all into fits of laughter, when his own hearty 
ringing laugh was sure to dominate all the others. He 
too was talented, but not steady and persevering like 
Yatzevitch. He was one of those fortunate beings who 
are able to get the gist of a passage with one rapid 

xxii] MY ROOM-MATES 217 

glance ; but he squandered his gifts, attempting every- 
thing, and doing nothing thoroughly. He was almost 
girlishly tender, clinging, and confiding by nature ; but 
could on occasion become passionate and violent. Moscow 
was his birthplace, and he was sent straight from the 
University in 1 88 1, when a mere boyish student, to twenty 
years' imprisonment, simply because he refused to say 
from whom he had received a manifesto that was found 
in his possession. He was an enthusiastic member of the 
Narbdnaia Vblya. 

They say that two friends are generally of opposite 
temperaments, and the two Vanitchki certainly bore out 
that theory. While Starinkyevitch was gay and light- 
hearted, Martinovsky was grave, sedate, almost morose. 
He seldom smiled, and I can never remember hearing him 
laugh. He was a man of iron will, commanding and even 
despotic in character. I cannot imagine his ever being 
brought to yield a hair's-breadth on any subject ; on the 
contrary, he seemed always to contrive to bring others 
round to the fulfilment of his wishes. He was without 
doubt an extremely gifted and capable man, who might 
have made his mark as a leader in public affairs if he had 
had the chance. He was above all things practical ; yet 
could immerse himself on occasion in theoretical problems, 
and was one of the first in the prison to take up the study 
of Marxism. He too came from Moscow, and like his 
friend Starinkyevitch, had been condemned to twenty years' 
imprisonment. Martinovsky had been sentenced, in the 
same case as Sundelevitch, Kviatkovsky, and others, to 
fourteen years' " katorga," and an attempted escape 
brought him an addition of another six years. His having 
been chosen starosta (head-man) by his comrades proves 
the complete trust they placed in him, and he was in every 
way a model representative of our interests. 

The following story concerns another of my fellow- 
prisoners at Kara. On the 25th December, 1879, General 
Drenteln was driving in his carriage through the streets 

2i8 FIRST DAYS AT KARA [chap. 

of Petersburg. He had just been appointed chief of 
gendarmerie, in succession to General Mezentzev, (killed 
by the revolutionists ; see pp. 92 and 263,) and was also 
the head of the notorious " third section." * Suddenly a 
man riding a beautiful thorough-bred stopped the carriage 
and fired several shots at the General through the window, 
none of the bullets hitting their mark. The rider made 
off, the General cried to the coachman to follow him, and 
a wild chase began. The people in the streets understood 
nothing about what had occurred, and saw with amaze- 
ment this strange race between the General's carriage and 
a magnificently mounted horseman. More than once the 
latter seemed on the point of being brought to bay, but 
always escaped down some side street, closely followed by the 
General's fast trotters. At last the rider made a dash, left 
his pursuers behind, and was in hot flight, when his horse 
stumbled and fell. The fugitive did not lose his presence 
of mind, however ; beckoning to a policeman, he said : 
" My good man, this horse is hurt ; just look after it for 
me while I go and fetch the groom." The policeman 
obediently took the bridle, and the horseman vanished 
round the corner, cut through a passage, called a droschky, 
and was seen no more. General Drenteln foamed with 
rage when he found the horse in such safe keeping, but the 
rider gone. The police were set to work, and easily dis- 
covered the steed to be a racehorse named " Lady," which 
had been hired from a riding-school by a student named 
Mirsky, 2 already under police observation. Mirsky was by 
this time no longer to be found in Petersburg ; he had 
escaped to South Russia. Several months later, however, 
he met his fate at Taganrock, while under the roof of a 
friend and comrade named Tarhov, a lieutenant in the 
artillery. Another officer, having suspicions about Tarhov's 
guest, put the police on the scent, and the house was sur- 

1 The secret police, which was then under the chief of gendarmerie, though 
it has since been constituted a separate department, controlling vast sums of 
money. a See portrait, p. 112. 

xxii] MIRSKY 219 

rounded. Mirsky, unwilling to surrender without a struggle, 
fired several revolver-shots at the police, and tried to break 
through their cordon. He was overpowered, however ; was 
made prisoner, and in 1880 was brought before a court- 
martial, together with Tarhov, the poet A. Olchin, and 
some others. That was a time when even people not 
actually implicated in terrorist attempts were condemned 
to death off-hand by the courts-martial, and no one doubted 
that Mirsky — whose assault upon the chief of gendarmerie 
was undisputed — would be executed. Only he himself 
seemed to think otherwise. I remember how, shortly 
before the trial, somebody who had visited him in prison 
came to us and said that Mirsky wanted us to send him 
black clothes and a white tie, to wear when he went before 
the court. We were all very much surprised, and laughed 
rather mournfully over his odd whim. It was the first 
time it had occurred to any revolutionist to trouble himself 
about what sort of coat he should put on to face his judges. 
But of course we provided him with the means of shining 
for the last time in public ; the papers remarked that " the 
chief defendant presented a very gentlemanly appearance," 
and his speech of defence was reported with approval in 
various foreign journals. He was condemned to death ; 
and although this sentence was commuted to one of penal 
servitude for life, he very narrowly escaped suffering the 
full rigour of the law. Had the attempt — planned for 
that very day — to kill Alexander II. at the station in 
Alexandrovskaia been successful, or had the trial taken 
place two days later, after the 19th November, when the 
Tsar's train was blown up at Moscow, — all would have 
been over for Mirsky. As it was, however, he escaped 
with his life, and was confined in the famous Alexei- 
Ravelin tower of the Fortress of Peter and Paul, where at 
that time the most important " politicals " were imprisoned. 
Four years later he was brought to Kara, and he was one 
of my companions in the " nobles' room.' 1 

Instead of a slender, aristocratic youth, as Mirsky was 

220 FIRST DAYS AT KARA [chap, xxii 

described at the time of his trial, I knew him as a robust, 
somewhat undersized but well-built man, of about twenty- 
seven. And he had changed in more than outward appear- 
ance ; he was no longer the hot-headed boy, ready for any 
rash deed, but a serious man who had been through much 
and had thought deeply. Keen-witted and well educated, 
he had formed his own conclusions as to social conditions 
in Russia and their development in the future. The teach- 
ing of Marx was unknown to him, but he had attained 
a similar standpoint by following out his own reasoning. 
He was particularly sceptical concerning the views then 
prevalent among Russian revolutionists, according to 
which a purely Russian programme should be based on 
the organisation of the artels (workmen's unions), and on 
the already existing system of the joint ownership of land 
by the village communes ; a programme which must differ 
essentially from that of Socialists in all other civilised 
countries. He did not believe that anything further could 
be built on these remnants of patriarchal institutions. He 
was of opinion that the complete overthrow of the exist- 
ing political regime was the first thing to be aimed at in 
Russia, but he was convinced that terrorist tactics would 
never entirely bring this about ; and he expected equally 
little from any uprising of the working classes, since the 
mass of the people were sunk in apathetic resignation and 
hopelessness. Yet still the question tortured him — how 
should this task be approached ? — and he was of all the 
prisoners in Kara the best prepared for the philosophical 
arguments of a Marxist. 

Mirsky had been a medical student ; but during his 
imprisonment he took up the study of jurisprudence, and 
was credited with such a thorough knowledge of legal 
affairs that his judgments were more trusted than those of 
some graduate lawyers who were among us. Mirsky was 
of Polish extraction ; but having been brought up in 
Russia he was in every respect a thoroughly Russian 



ON my arrival at the Kara prison I found in existence 
there an extremely elaborate organisation regulating 
the prisoners' daily life, a system that the course of time 
had evolved and tested. The fundamental principle of the 
arrangement was equality of rights and duties ; the in- 
mates of the prison forming for all domestic purposes a 
commune or artel, although the needs and wishes of 
individuals were taken into account as far as possible. 
It was free to anyone to enter this artel or to remain 
outside, and whichever they did, material conditions — in 
the way of food, etc. — were the same for all. 1 The Govern- 
ment provided a certain quantity of food per day for each 
prisoner — about $\ lbs. of bread, nearly 6 oz. of meat, a 
few ounces of meal, and some salt. Friends of prisoners 
were permitted to furnish them with the means of obtain- 
ing extra provisions, and some of us, though, indeed, only 
a few, received such contributions regularly, this money as 
well as the governmental allowances becoming the common 
property of the artel. The money was distributed as 
follows : part was set aside to supplement the food-rations, 
especially for buying more meat (this was called in our 
lingo " provisioning the stock-pot ") ; another portion was 
reserved for what was called common expenses — assistance 
to those who were leaving the prison and going to their 

1 Those who did not join the artel had, of course, no votes in any dis- 
cussions or decisions of that body. 



appointed place of exile, subscriptions to such newspapers 
as we wore allowed, postage, etc. ; and a third part was 
divided equally among all for pocket-money. This last 
was spent according to the fancy of each individual, 
usually on tea, tobacco, fish, butter, and such things as 
were considered "secondary necessaries," though some- 
times these were sacrificed and the money saved up for 
months, or even for a year or more, in order to buy a book 
or some special luxury. Our funds were very scanty ; 
during my whole time in Kara there was never more than 
three or four kopecks 1 per man per day for the "stock- 
pot," and the pocket-money for each never amounted to 
more than a rouble 2 a month, often much less. In con- 
sequence of the primitive means of transport everything 
imported into Siberia cost three times as much as in 
Europe — a pound of sugar, for instance, cost thirty-five 
to forty kopecks — and the prisoners had to deny them- 
selves many of the smallest comforts of material ex- 
istence. Most of us used only brick-tea, i.e. tea of the 
commonest kind, and drank it without sugar ; others 
thought even that a luxury, and drank hot water ; while 
those who used sugar had to make one lump do for the 
whole day — that is, for three meals. 

Actual money was never given us, everything was on 
paper only. All remittances were received by the com- 
mandant, who kept us informed of the amount he had 
in hand. Then we would order various articles, which 
would be given to our starosta to keep in the common 
chest, and whenever he gave anything out he made an 
entry in his account-book. At the end of each month the 
accounts were made up, each man being told whether 
he had overdrawn his pocket-money and so must start 
the next month with a minus of so many kopecks, or 
whether he had saved and was credited with a plus. The 
former would try to make good their deficit during the 

1 A kopeck is about equal to one farthing. — Trans. 

2 A rouble is about equal to 2s. id. — Trans. 


following month ; but there were some who — with the 
best will in the world — could never make their expenditure 
and income balance, and were always in default, thus 
acquiring the nickname of " minuses," while the thrifty 
were called " pluses." No shame was attached to the 
being a " minus," though it was scarcely a title of honour, 
and no one cared for the position. The " minuses " 
always aspired to get straight at any rate at Christmas 
or Easter, when pocket-money was generally increased by 
an influx of gifts, but it sometimes occurred that someone 
found it impossible to get his head above water, and it 
was then the custom that at one of our festivals — at 
Christmas, or on the commemoration of some revolu- 
tionary red-letter day — the starosta or someone should 
suggest the "whitewashing" of the bankrupt by wiping 
off his debt to the artel. This proposal was always ac- 
cepted by the majority, only the " minus " himself protest- 
ing, or refusing to consent. 

Every morning the starosta presented himself with his 
order-book at the doors of the different rooms, and asked 
what was wanted. One would order a "sou's" worth 1 
of sugar, another a " brick " of tea, and so on. These 
orders were entered, to be later transferred to the account- 
book, and soon afterwards the starosta would bring the 
articles and give them to us through the peephole. The 
starosta also received from the steward for distribution 
all things that were due to us in the way of clothing, 
linen, and so forth, and he was our representative in all 
our dealings with the commandant. The election of the 
starosta was by ballot, and for a term of six months. 
The person elected was, of course, free to decline the post, 
and this occasionally happened, as, though an honourable 

1 This simply meant a kopeck's worth ; the expression had originated 
in the wish to disguise from the gendarme who was always on guard in the 
corridor the extremely small amount of such an order, but naturally in the 
course of time the gendarmes had come to understand our argot thoroughly, so 
that there was no longer any real deception. 


office, it was one which entailed trouble and responsibility, 
and sometimes even a degree of unpleasantness. 

Not only the stdrosta, but any member of the artel 
might make proposals for changes in our arrangements, 
such proposals being written down, considered by the 
inmates of the different rooms, and then voted for or 
against in writing. It was the starostds business to collect 
the votes and to announce the results through the peep- 
holes. Proposals of this kind were often most excitedly 
discussed, parties being formed to support or oppose 
them ; and occasionally a subject would develop into a 
" cabinet crisis," though the moving or rejecting of votes 
of confidence in the "government" (for we had a whole 
ministry, other officers being necessary besides the starostd) 
was not customary. 

All work within the prison precincts we shared among 
us ; but sucn services as made it necessary to go outside the 
yard (carrying wood and water, sanitary cleansing, etc.) 
were performed by ordinary criminals, whom we tipped, 
although not in any way obliged to do so. Our own 
duties were of two kinds : work for the community — such 
as cooking, cleaning the rooms, attending to the steam 
baths ; and private work — washing clothes, mending, etc. 
Everyone except the weak or ill had to take his share 
in the former. The cooking was undertaken by groups 
of five men, each group serving for a week at a time. 
There were eight or nine such groups in all, the choice 
of belonging to any particular group being left free without 
regard to rooms. Each group had its head cook, his 
assistant, a cook for the invalids, and two helpers. The 
work was not light, and was in no way attractive ; it began 
between six and seven in the morning, and was not usually 
over before five in the evening, by which hour one would 
be thoroughly tired out ; and when the end of the week 
came it was delightful to think of idling for a time. On 
the other hand, the labour was a welcome relief to the 
monotony of our lives, and the kitchen was a meeting- 

xxiii] COOKING 225 

place for the inhabitants of different rooms, forming a sort 
of clubhouse for those engaged in the cooking. Even 
when the work was hardest we had merry times there, 
discussing news, gossiping, and joking, the work itself often 
serving as a basis for fun and all sorts of nonsense. The 
head cook would give a raw hand some ridiculous job ; 
one, for instance, would be set to pick potatoes out of 
the pot with a fork ; another ordered to stand by a hole 
in the wall with a big stick and to knock on the head any 
blackbeetles that might make their appearance. I myself 
was given the task of chopping up millet-seed with a large 
knife, and other such absurdities would be invented. 

Our cooks had to manage with very scanty materials. 
Vegetables frequently ran short, thus making it most 
difficult to vary the bill of fare. At the time of my 
arrival there were no potatoes to be had, and at midday, 
from motives of economy, only broth was provided, from 
which the meat had been taken to be served up separately 
for supper. When I sat down to dinner on my first day in 
Kara I was prepared for a frugal meal, having heard 
beforehand how poor the dietary was in this prison ; but 
when I had spooned up the meagre soup without any 
accompaniment but bread and realised that this was my 
whole dinner, I felt somewhat downcast. I rose from table 
as hungry as I had sat down ; and it was a long while 
before I could accustom myself to this sort of nourishment. 
Our culinary skill was chiefly displayed in the way of 
serving up the soup-meat at a subsequent meal. It was 
generally minced and heated up with some vegetables. 
The dish most favoured by the majority was meat cut into 
small pieces and mixed with groats ; this was called 
" Everyone -likes -it," and it was the pride of the cooks 
to decorate our menu with this original name at least twice 
a week. The greedy ones among us used to spy around 
the kitchen, and never failed to spread the joyful tidings : 
" They're making ' Everyone-likes-it ' to-day ! " The cooks 
generally put their best foot forward on Saturday, when 



their week of office expired. For years it had been the 
custom to have an extra dish on that day, a pirog or sort 
of pie made of flour, rice, and mince. The cooks used to 
save up scraps of meat for it all through the week, and 
sometimes the pirog would attain such dimensions that 
we could not dispose of it at one sitting, and a remainder 
would be left over for Sunday's breakfast. On the whole 
our food was insufficient, not very nutritious, and still less 
appetising. Bread only had we at discretion, as the 
rations given out by the steward were so large that some 
was always left over. Only those who had no stomach for 
a quantity of dry bread need go hungry. But we hardly 
ever had our fill except on great feast days, when not only 
was our pocket-money augmented, but an extra allowance 
of food was given. The cooks would then indulge us 
with various dainties and luxuries ; roast meat would come 
to table, or cutlets, and white bread. Praise must not be 
denied to our cooks ; there were among them virtuosi, 
whose handiwork was quite artistic — worthy, as we ex- 
pressed it, " of better houses." 

Invalid diet was not provided specially ; the cooks had 
to arrange for that as best they could, and make it as 
varied as was compatible with economy. During my time 
there was no severe illness, and special diet was only 
needed for those who were delicate or who suffered from 
some chronic ailment. The question who was to be given 
invalid fare was decided by Prybylyev 1 — one of our number 
who acted as our medical adviser, and who showed much 
skill in that capacity, though at home he had only been 
a veterinary surgeon. His fame in the art of healing 
became widespread, and afterwards when he was living 
out of prison he was consulted by many people, though 
there were three qualified physicians in the neighbourhood. 

The helpers in the kitchen generally either knew nothing 
whatever of the culinary art or else preferred rough work. 
I fulfilled both conditions, and never made anything of 
actual cooking ; my duties consisted in carrying water, 

1 See portrait, p. 209. 


chopping wood, taking water and charcoal for the samovar 
to the different rooms, apportioning the food in the wooden 
bowls out of which we ate, washing up, attending to the 
stoves, and cleaning the kitchen. Everybody working in 
the kitchen got rather larger portions of food than the 
others : that was an ancient custom. 

Besides the head-man, who had charge of our larder, a 
special "bread-dispenser" was appointed, whose office it 
was to cut up the loaves and divide them among the 
different rooms ; he had also to collect all scraps and 
crumbs that were left, and send them on to our comrades 
in the penal settlement, 1 where they were used to feed a 
horse and a couple of cows which belonged to the artel. 

The " poultry-keeper " was another of our officials. We 
kept in the yard a number of fowls which we cherished 
most carefully, and they were a great amusement to us, 
especially when a brood of chickens appeared or when the 
young cockerels showed fight. 

Two other comrades were " bath-keepers " ; had to see 
to the cleaning of the steam-bath, etc., and — like all our 
"officials" — were excused from kitchen work. 

Finally, there was the very important post of librarian, 
which ranked next to that of starosta, and, like it, was 
decided by ballot, while the other dignitaries generally 
chose their own offices. In the course of years our library 
had attained quite imposing dimensions ; it was composed 
partly of books brought by the inmates, partly of those 
sent to us as gifts. Nearly all branches of knowledge were 
represented in it, but particularly history, mathematics, and 
natural science ; there were also books in almost every 
European language, including the classics. Two enormous 
cupboards in the corridor contained this treasure, but the 
greater part of it was usually in the hands of eager readers. 
The custodian had to look after the binding and mending 

1 This penal settlement was at a short distance from the prison, in the 
village of Kara, and here — as will be explained more fully later — the convicts, 
both ordinary and political, were allowed to reside under strict rules and 
surveillance after their term of actual imprisonment was over. — Trans. 


of the books, in which he found many willing helpers. The 
tools and materials used were of the most primitive de- 
scription ; we had no pasteboard, for instance, and had to 
contrive some by pasting paper together. My travelling 
companion, Tchuikov, proved a first-rate librarian, not 
only invariably remembering what books each person had 
borrowed, but being always able to tell the whereabouts of 
any particular article or treatise in our files of newspapers. 
He was to the last always re-elected librarian. 

Housework in the rooms was likewise done by strict 
rule ; according to our turns we had to be on duty twice a 
day, seeing to the stoves, carrying the unsavoury wooden 
tubs in and out at night and in the morning, and so on. 
Our rooms were kept scrupulously clean and neat, and 
every fortnight there was a tremendous thorough cleaning ; 
the boards were scrubbed with hot water, beds aired, tables 
and benches washed in the yard. We were very particular 
about proper ventilation, and observed all hygienic pre- 
cautions most carefully ; each man used the steam-bath 
once a week, and each washed his own clothes — not one of 
our easiest jobs. 

Remembering that most of us were students fresh from 
the universities, or at any rate had hitherto had little prac- 
tical acquaintance with domestic labour, and taking into 
account external circumstances generally and the scanty 
supply of materials, I think we might fairly pride ourselves 
on the practical and efficient organisation of our household 
affairs. Of course our system was liable to modification 
in details if necessary, but the principles on which it was 
based were fixed and unchangeable. 

That our life must have had much in it irksome in the 
extreme and hard to bear is only too evident ; living in 
such constant and close intimacy for years with the same 
set of people must necessarily lead to all kinds of petty 
rubs and differences ; all the more because the forced 
inactivity was such a strain to the nerves of many. These 
were evils not in our power entirely to avert. 

xxiii] A "SIRIUS" 229 

In the middle of each room hung a lamp with a dark 
shade — lamps that we had ourselves provided. Our table 
was narrow and long, so that a number of persons neces- 
sarily sat where the light was very poor, insufficient for 
work of any kind ; and this, of course, was a misfortune 
for everyone, as those condemned to idleness disturbed 
the more advantageously placed who wanted to study. 
Even had there not been this drawback, serious concentra- 
tion of mind would have been difficult in a small room 
wherein were congregated sixteen men of very different 
temperaments and inclinations. The needful quiet could 
rarely be obtained, for it would have been impossible to 
enforce silence during the long winter evenings ; on the 
contrary, when one sat down to work at night tongues 
were loosened, and there began a constant hubbub of 
chatter and laughter. Anyone who was really bent on 
earnest study had to devise a special plan : he became 
what we called a " Sirius." This meant that as soon as it 
became dusk he went to bed till midnight, and then, while 
the rest were asleep, got up and worked till dawn, when 
Sirius rises above the horizon ; after which he lay down 
for another two hours' rest. It needed an overwhelming 
desire for learning and considerable powers of endurance 
to become a " Sirius " ; it was difficult to rest when the 
comrades were chattering and making a noise all around 
one, and when one had at last managed to get off to sleep, 
it seemed immediately time to wake up again. The divid- 
ing of the night's rest is not an easy thing to stand ; in 
spite of my efforts I could never accustom myself to it ; 
yet there were some among us — though not many — who 
were numbered among the " Siriuses " all the time I was at 
Kara. Yatzevitch, and two others of whom I shall have 
more to say, Kalyushny and Adrian Mihailov, kept to this 
mode of life during that whole period. 

I must mention one custom that had taken root in the 
prison, into which I was very soon initiated. We were 


in the middle of a lively conversation one morning, just 
after my arrival, when M., one of the comrades, turned 
to me with the question — 

" What do you say, Deutsch ; will the Tsar soon be 
made an end of?" 

" Oh no," I replied, " I don't think he'll be killed. The 
man will probably end his days peacefully in his bed." 

My answer met with violent opposition, everyone assur- 
ing me that Alexander III. must meet his father's fate. 
At that time nearly all revolutionists had still a firm 
belief in the indestructible power of the Narbdnaia Vbfya, 
and saw in terrorism the only practicable means of fighting 
Russian absolutism. To me, on the contrary, things showed 
themselves in quite a different light. I had taken part in 
the revolutionary organisation when the terrorist idea was 
in its infancy, had witnessed its development until finally 
it reigned alone and absorbed all the fighting energy 
of the party, had known personally Terrorists both great 
and small, and I had now come to the conclusion that 
the Narbdnaia Vblya had outlived its time. The tide of 
feeling that had fostered the growth of this party had 
reached its height in 1881 ; while after, and in consequence 
of, the assassination of Alexander II. it had ebbed rapidly 
away. As I have explained before, all the leading Terrorists 
were then removed from the sphere of action, and the 
younger ones who tried to replace them had no chance 
of proving and tempering their own powers. Both in 
Russia and abroad I had seen how the earlier enthusiasm 
had given way to a fatal scepticism ; men had lost faith, 
even though many would not have allowed that it was 
so. It was clear to me that a reaction had set in, to last 
for many years. 

When I now gave expression to these views, M. asked 
suddenly — 

u Will you back that opinion ? " 

" What does that mean ? " I asked. 

" Well, we simply mean by that, will you take a bet 

xxiii] WAGERS 231 

on it ? I declare that the Tsar will be killed ; you main- 
tain the contrary. I offer you a wager that the Tsar will 
be killed by the revolutionists within a certain time." 

" Very well, I accept." 

"Shall we say five years — till December 15th, 1890?" 

" All right ; what is the stake ? " 

This was not so easy to settle. Bets of this sort, I then 
learned, were quite the fashion, and were made on every 
kind of occasion — sometimes as the result of a serious 
argument, sometimes about a mere trifle ; but there was 
rarely a controversy that did not terminate with the 
question, " Will you back that opinion ? " If the other 
party tried to make excuses, there would be a chorus from 
the bystanders of " He shirks it ! " and the reputation 
of a "shirker" was not a flattering one. The stake was 
usually some small matter, perhaps a little tea or tobacco, 
varying according to the importance of the subject in 
dispute. A " sou's worth " of sugar was a common offer ; 
but if the loser undertook to brew tea for the whole room 
that was considered a high stake, and the result was 
awaited with interest. Although these bets were more or 
less of a joke, they had also a more serious side. There 
are people who will dispute about every imaginable thing, 
and make the wildest assertions simply for the sake of 
arguing ; and it must be confessed that after such heedless 
talkers had lost a few wagers they were more inclined 
to hold their tongues occasionally, though neither the 
chance of losses nor of earning the nickname of " shirker " 
could quite restrain some of our number from arguing 
in the air. 

My wager with M. was duly recorded, and it was agreed 
that the loser should provide cakes for all the inhabitants 
of the " nobles' room." This was a very high stake, 
costing several roubles, and the loser risked being without 
pocket-money for " secondary necessaries " during several 
months ; but the question being one that might not be 
decided for a long while, the stake had to be considerable 

2 3 2 DAILY LIFE IN KARA PRISON [chap, xxiii 

to sustain interest. Time proved me right. At the end 
of 1890 M. had lost his bet, and wished to pay his debt 
of honour ; but I refused to allow him to do so, on the 
ground that circumstances had changed, and the former 
inmates of the " nobles' room " would no longer be able 
to partake of the feast, many having by that time left the 
prison. M. would not hear of it at first, but ended by 
giving in. 



IN conversation with those who had been imprisoned at 
Kara for some time one often heard the expressions : 
" That was before the May days," or, " That happened 
after the nth of May." This mode of reckoning time 
had become current among us ; everybody knew the story 
of the " May days," which had been an epoch in the 
prison life of Kara, just as the " February days " had been 
a turning-point in French history. All that lay behind 
the " May days " was a sort of golden age, and after 
them came a time of storm and stress, years of gloom 
and misery. I will briefly narrate the story of these 

The Kara prison for political offenders dates from the 
year 1880. Before that time "politicals" were not con- 
fined in a special gaol, but in one among a great number 
of such prisons in this penal district, where along the 
River Kara are many gold-washing settlements, the private 
property of the Tsar — or " property of His Majesty's 
Cabinet," as it is officially termed. The ''politicals," like 
the ordinary prisoners, had to wash gold for the Lord of 
All the Russias ; but the work was not hard, and they 
rather enjoyed it. It was at any rate pleasanter and more 
wholesome to work for a few hours in the fresh air than to 
vegetate in prison. At that time the " politicals " enjoyed 



the same privileges as the ordinary convicts ; e.g. they had 
better rations than were subsequently given them, they 
might correspond with their relations, and at the ex- 
piration of their appointed sentences they were allowed 
to settle in the "free colony" outside the prison. The 
" politicals " were not dissatisfied with this state of things ; 
but in December, 1880, the then Minister of the Interior, 
Count Loris Melikov, ordered that they should no longer 
be allowed in the penal colony. Shortly after this was 
made known one of the prisoners, a graduate of the 
Petersburg University, named Semyanovsky, took his own 
life, leaving a letter to his father, in which he declared that 
the idea of being permanently shut up in prison had driven 
him to commit suicide. 

This cruel decree came at a time when the political 
movement was particularly strong, and we were believed 
to be on the eve of a great upheaval ; news of revolutionary 
doings, though much delayed, reached the ears of the 
prisoners in distant Kara, and naturally made the yearning 
for liberty more fervent than ever. Some of those who 
still had a long term of punishment to suffer resolved on 
flight; but not till May, 1882, was it found possible to 
execute their plans, and the work at the mines to which 
they were daily led furnished them with the opportunity. 
It was arranged that two men were to escape each night ; 
and by common consent the first to go was Myshkin, 1 a 
well-known revolutionist, who chose as his companion one 
of the most able of his comrades, a working-man named 
Nicholas Hrustchov. 2 These two got away successfully, 
and to conceal their disappearance their comrades made 
dummies which they laid in their places on the bed-shelves 
when the roll was called. Galkin-Vrassky, the head of the 

1 Sentenced in 1873 to ten years' penal servitude, in the " Case of the 193," 
for armed resistance in an attempted rescue of Tchernishevsky from Viluisk 
in Yakutsk. Myshkin also received a further fifteen years, because at the 
burial of a comrade, Dmohovsky, he delivered a funeral oration in the prison 

2 Sentenced in the Popov trial in Kiev to fifteen years' penal servitude, 

xxiv] THE "MAY DAYS" 235 

Prisons Department, was just at that time visiting the 
prisons of Kara, accompanied by the Governor, Iliashevitch ; 
but nothing was discovered, though the fugitives were 
already well on their eastern journey, nearing the shore of 
the Pacific. After a few days a second couple escaped in 
the same manner, and as successfully, and then a third pair. 
But as the last man of a fourth pair was making off, the 
sentry fired and alarmed the watch ; the shot missed, but 
the absence of eight prisoners was discovered. That was 
on May nth, 1882 ; Galkin-Vrassky and Iliashevitch were 
still in Kara, and the presence of their chiefs fired the local 
authorities to special exertions in following up the fugitives; 
six were soon captured, 1 only the first two remaining at 

Reprisals were at once taken against the other political 
prisoners ; some were conveyed in small parties to different 
prisons, and treated with terrible severity on the way ; the 
Kara prison was rebuilt, the large common rooms being 
each converted into three cells so small that one could 
scarcely turn round in them ; while within a special en- 
closure a building was erected with narrow cells for solitary 
confinement, wherein some of the revolutionists were incar- 
cerated. All books and other possessions were taken from 
the " politicals " ; they were allowed no food except that 
provided by the State ; and were subjected to so many 
hardships and privations that they unanimously resolved 
to put an end to their lives by refusing to eat ; and only 
when they were at death's door were some concessions 
made by the authorities. 

Myshkin and Hrustchov were for some time lucky in 
evading detection. They got as far as Vladivostock, and 
were in the act of seeking safety on board a foreign vessel 
when they were recognised as the long-sought fugitives, 
and captured. All sacrifices had been vain, and the 

1 Moses Dihovsky, fifteen years' penal servitude ; Levtchenko, fifteen ; 
Andreas Balamutz, twenty ; Kratzenovsky, Yurhovsky, and Minyukov, all 
for life. 


prisoners of the mighty Tsar were once more secured in 
the Kara prison, which had meanwhile undergone further 
changes. The "politicals" were separated from the 
ordinary convicts, and the male and female divisions of 
the political prison placed under the control of the 
gendarmerie. Koros, a staff officer of gendarmes, was 
sent from Petersburg and installed as commandant ; and 
a number of inferior officers of gendarmerie were made 
warders. The whole system was at the same time 
completely altered ; the workshops were removed, and the 
prisoners forced to remain idle ; they were not allowed to 
leave the precincts of the gaol, and correspondence with 
their friends was forbidden. Moreover, as has been said 
elsewhere, thirteen of their number were despatched to the 
Fortress of Peter and Paul and thence to Schliisselburg, 
where now (1902) only one of them survives. 

During the four years that had elapsed since the " May 
days" there had been four changes of commandant. 
One of these gentlemen had been superseded and sent to 
Yakutsk for appropriating to his own private uses one 
thousand roubles of money sent to the prisoners. Each 
change of commandant meant some modification of 
arrangements, and thus by degrees various small improve- 
ments were made, among others the breaking down of the 
partition walls in the rooms ; while, in consequence of an 
appeal made by a prisoner's influential relations, the Loris 
Melikov order was finally annulled, and " politicals " were 
once more allowed to reside in the penal colony when 
their proportion of years in prison was past. The legal 
regulations concerning the latter privilege were as follows : 
in the fulfilment of all hard-labour (or " katorga ") sen- 
tences the first one or two years — according to the length 
of the sentence — are called " probation time " ; the remain- 
ing years are called " time of alleviation," and in them 
every ten months count as a year. In this way, for 
example, my thirteen years and four months became 
eleven years and five months ; and being sentenced on 


October 1 2th, 1884, I should finish my term in February, 
1896. The entire "probation time" and two or three 
years of the " time of alleviation " must be spent in prison ; 
but after that the law provided that the prisoner should be 
allowed to reside in the " colony," under police supervision, 
instead of within the prison walls. Such partially freed 
prisoners might take up their abode in some house assigned 
to them, or built by themselves ; but they were subject to 
the rules and regulations laid down for the convicts residing 
there, ordinary and political alike. It was a great matter 
to be no longer cooped up day and night in a common 
room of the prison ; the " politicals " — people of culture 
and refinement — appreciated this particularly, and the 
withdrawal of the privilege had been a terrible depriva- 
tion. The greater, therefore, was the rejoicing when, two 
years after the " May days," the new commandant, Captain 
Burlei, who had succeeded the thief Manayev, informed 
the captives in the political prison of Kara that some time 
previously a resolution of the senate had rescinded the 
adverse decree. The dishonest Manayev had suppressed 
the document proclaiming this, that he might the more 
easily continue to conceal his malpractices. Captain Burlei 
immediately proposed to the governor of the district that 
steps should be taken forthwith for the release from prison 
and internment in the " colony " of all those who had 
become entitled to that right. Before this could be 
arranged, however, the humane commandant was replaced 
by Nikolin, who would only allow the new rules to come 
into force under certain restrictions. The senate had made 
their decision ; the law was there, and must be complied 
with ; but by " administrative methods " he continued to 
limit its operations. 

Captain Nikolin was a malicious, small-minded man, 
always on the look-out for ways of annoying the prisoners ; 
and now, on the pretence that he had not a strong enough 
force of gendarmes to supervise the "colony," he asked 
that instead of releasing all who were entitled to the 


privilege, only fifteen persons at a time should be set free. 
His excuse was groundless, for under the circumstances 
the same force of gendarmes could have equally well con- 
trolled the greater or smaller number of "colonists"; but of 
course the wish of the commandant was acceded to, and it 
thus came about that those who should have obtained the 
right of living outside the prison had often to wait years 
until there was a vacancy, and even then there might be a 
dozen candidates for it, from among whom Nikolin arbitrarily 
selected a recipient of the favour. Of course this curtail- 
ment of their rights earned Nikolin the ardent dislike of 
the prisoners ; and his conduct was such as continually to 
aggravate that sentiment anew. 

I had an opportunity of seeing this man soon after 
being placed under his charge. He often came into the 
prison — into the corridor, that is, for he never entered the 
rooms. He might have been nearly fifty-five, rather big, with 
an imposing " corporation " ; his broad round face, cunning 
little eyes, and bristling moustache, gave him the look of a 
fat, spiteful old tom-cat, and he was always designated 
by that nickname. The expression of his eyes was 
particularly catlike ; he looked as if just ready to pounce 
on a victim and stick his claws into it. He always spoke 
in a low voice, this "tom-cat"; but he chattered un- 
ceasingly, and kept smacking his lips all the time, his 
expression being always peevish and discontented. When 
he visited the prison he generally remained for some time 
standing by our starosta, who would be busy beside his 
big chest ; and Nikolin would talk away, quite regardless 
whether his conversation were agreeable to the listener 
or not. During these endless monologues he would brag 
and boast in the most inflated way. Could we have 
accepted his own account of his exploits, he would by 
this time have been at least a general. He had begun his 
career during the sixties under Mouraviev, the oppressor 
of Vilna, and he would recount the inestimable services 
he had rendered at that epoch. Yet he was still only a 


captain ! Possibly an excess of zeal had spoiled his 
prospects ; at any rate, he used to relate the following 
story of what had happened to him in Kara. He had 
once addressed a communication to the governor of the 
province, asking this highly important question : " When 
the floor of a room was being scrubbed, and the prisoners 
were consequently turned out into the corridor, should the 
warder take them into another room or not ? " 

" Imagine ! " the "tom-cat" would cry. "The answer 
I received was this : ' Arrange the matter for yourself ac- 
cording to Paragraph 13 of the instructions.'" Now the 
instructions only contained twelve paragraphs, but the 
irony of the rejoinder never struck Nikolin, and he con- 
tinued to fuss on every occasion over any sort of trifle. 
He seemed, too, to think that his position as commandant 
of the political prisoners did not give him enough scope 
for grumbling, but poked his nose into everything that 
went on in the district of Kara. Once, indeed, he did 
actually succeed in discovering a series of thefts from the 
coffers of the State. There was a certain Major Pohulov, 
governor of the ordinary convicts' prison (with whom 
Mr. Kennan stayed during his visit to Kara). One fine 
day a storehouse under his charge, supposed to contain 
some thousands of poods of grain for the prisoners' use, 
was burnt down. Now grain stored in great heaps does 
not burn away, but simply gets roasted ; yet on this 
occasion there was no trace of it to be found, the gallant 
major having had a little deal with the purveyor, and then, 
with the help of his subordinates, having arranged that 
the warehouse should be burnt down in the nick of time. 

Probably this transaction would have remained in the 
dark, like many others of the kind, had not our "tom-cat" 
taken the matter up and by his denunciations forced the 
Government to appoint a commission of inquiry on which 
he himself served. 

He then revealed the full range of his talents, and 
brought to the light of day a whole system of robbery and 


fraud. The " hospitable gentleman," as Kennan described 
Major Pohulov (and indeed so he was), had had more than 
one device for enriching himself at the State's expense. 
For instance, hundreds of prisoners figured on his list who 
had long since either been released or had escaped, and for 
these " ghosts " he had regularly charged his books with 
clothing and food allowances, whilst he and the purveyor 
had fraternally shared the money between them. This man 
was dismissed from his office, but was never brought to 
justice, as he had influential friends who shielded him. 

Although my comrades in the " nobles' room " were 
most sympathetic companions to me, I had a great wish 
to be transferred to the room inhabited by my friend 
Stefanovitch, and permission for this had to be asked 
of the " tom-cat." He at first refused it, on the excuse 
that he must get the governor's sanction ; but I heard 
in a roundabout way that he pretended to fear lest if 
Stefanovitch and I got together we might manage to 
escape. This was arrant nonsense, as since the gendarmes 
had had charge of the prison there had been no faintest 
possibility of escaping from it ; but the " tom-cat " had to 
find some pretext or other for tormenting us. A few 
weeks later he finally gave his consent, and I became my 
friend's " chum " in the " Sanhedrin room." 

The whole aspect of life in this apartment differed 
materially from that in the " nobles' room." A good many 
of the inmates were artisans, and some of the others had 
a turn for manual work, in consequence of which the room 
had quite the look of a workshop. The possession of tools 
was forbidden, but they had them notwithstanding, though 
nothing of the kind was ever to be seen when an inspection 
took place. These inspections, though minute, were " super- 
ficial," as the gendarmerie expressed it ; that is, we were 
never personally searched, so we simply put our tools in 
our pockets when the inspection began. 

Some of our workmen were past masters in their craft. 


Hrustchov, a hero of the " May days," was one of these, 
and another proficient was the locksmith Bubnovsky. 
With scraps of iron, old nails, and such-like he made a tiny 
lathe that could go into his pocket. With this little lathe 
he fashioned all the parts of a clock, and, though he had 
never been a watchmaker, produced a most artistic time- 
piece, that later found place in a Siberian museum. Almost 
all kinds of handiwork were carried on in our workshop, 
many of them having been learned entirely from books. 
Patience and endurance — lessons taught by prison life — 
had fruitful results when applied to such ends ; and the 
theoretical studies that were undertaken, one comrade 
learning from another, also profited by those qualities. 
Knowledge was eagerly sought after in this room, and the 
quondam students helped the working-men. Yatzevitch 
and Zlatopolsky came there every day to give instruction 
in mathematics and natural science ; Fomitchov occupied 
the chair of Russian languages, and so on. On this ac- 
count our room was sometimes called " the Academy." 

Among the workmen a certain Karl Ivanein interested 
me much. By birth a Finn, but thoroughly Russified, his 
passion was for the finer branches of literature, and in 
these he was very well read. He was an enthusiastic 
adherent of Tolstoi's teaching, and any hostile criticism 
of that sage stung his proselyte to eager defence. His 
was a highly gifted but eccentric character : soon after I 
became acquainted with him he was released from prison 
and sent to live in the penal settlement, where in a very 
little while he committed suicide. 

Fomin and Fomitchov were noted among the other 
students in our room for their determined industry. Fomin, 
I had known in Switzerland, where he had lived for some 
time as a refugee. He had been an officer of infantry ; 
was arrested for making propaganda among the soldiers, 
and imprisoned in Vilna, but escaped by the help of a 
comrade. He could not long endure to remain abroad, 
and returned to Russia, where he managed to conceal him- 



self for a time, but was arrested in 1882 in Petersburg and 
condemned to twenty years' penal servitude. While in 
Kara he occupied himself with the study of natural 
science, particularly mineralogy. 

Of Fomitchov I had heard much, as a very active revolu- 
tionist, but had never met him before. The son of a poor 
sacristan, he had studied in Odessa, where in 1877 ne was 
arrested, and charged before a court-martial with making 
propaganda among soldiers ; but even under martial law 
it was found impossible to convict him, and he was set free 
amid the applause of the onlookers, who gave both him 
and his counsel a perfect ovation. Soon afterwards, how- 
ever, he was again imprisoned, and was condemned to- 
gether with Lisogub, Tchubarov, and others, his sentence 
being penal servitude for life. In consequence of his 
attempted escape while on the journey, which I have 
already mentioned, 1 he was chained to the wheelbarrow 2 
for a year. He busied himself with historical studies, 
more especially in Russian history, and had read a great 
deal on that subject ; but unfortunately our library was 
one-sided in this branch, and only provided him with 
voluminous and rather out-of-date works, such as those 
of Schlosser, Weber, Mommsen, Soloviev, and Kosto- 
marov. It may have been partly owing to the bias of 
these guides, partly to some odd twist in his own mind, 
but anyhow our friend Fomitchov — a clever and extremely 
painstaking student, an excellent comrade, and a man of 
strong character generally — came to adopt most extra- 
ordinary views for a political prisoner. He was not only 
an ardent patriot and Russsophil ; but also — which seemed 
especially incomprehensible — an extreme monarchist, and 
a passionate upholder of the Romanov dynasty ! A 
political offender, a convict for life, yet a fanatic for 

1 See note, page 189. 

2 This punishment consists in fastening a wheelbarrow by chains to the 
prisoner so that he is obliged to push it about with him wherever he goes ; 
and even when he wishes to sleep he must contrive to hoist it into such a 
position as will render lying down possible. — Trans. 

xxiv] FOMITCHOV 243 

Russian absolutism : a strange combination, truly ! If a 
man holding such opinions had petitioned for pardon it 
would have seemed only logical ; not one of us would 
have seen anything dishonourable in his taking such a step, 
but Fomitchov abstained from doing so. He persisted in the 
curious view that it was his duty to abide his fate and wear 
out his life in a Siberian prison, as expiation of his rebellion 
against the Tsar, of whose wise policy for the government 
of his subjects Fomitchov had now not the slightest doubt. 
It might have been confidently asserted that among all the 
courtiers and dignitaries surrounding him, Alexander III. 
had no more loyal and devoted adherent than this political 
convict in Kara prison. The most unjust and cruel ukase 
of the Tsar's Government found in Fomitchov a defender 
who could always discover therein some salutary principle 
intended to promote the welfare of the people. That 
people he loved beyond everything, even to the sacrificing 
of his own life, if need were ; and therefore was he com- 
pelled to be for ever attempting the theoretical reconciliation 
of governmental Tsarism with the people's good. Any 
attack on the Tsar incensed him to such a degree that he 
would often break off all intercourse with anyone who 
made His Majesty the object of hostile comment. Many 
of us seriously doubted if the man could rightly be con- 
sidered sane. 

Naturally Fomitchov stood alone in this exaggeration of 
royalist enthusiasm, but as a Russophil he found many 
sympathisers. A certain number among us were firmly 
persuaded that Russian social and domestic conditions 
were far superior to those of Western Europe, and disputes 
about this supposed Russian perfection were endless ; they 
were the occasion of many a wager, and not infrequently 
caused serious estrangements between friends, or — as our 
double-Dutch expressed it — " climatic disturbances." This 
strange belief in the superiority of backward Russia was 
a ruling craze of the time in our country. The entire 
progressive press was Russophil in that sense ; and the 


tendency had manifested itself even in Socialist literature, 
in the passionate insistence that, Russian conditions being 
perfectly different from those of any other country, the 
revolutionary struggle must proceed on essentially distinct 
lines. I must confess that I was often pained to hear men 
suffering for their convictions giving vent to opinions .so 
strongly resembling the arguments of hardened reac- 

One of the most strenuous advocates of these views in 
our room was a man who — strange to say — bore the repu- 
tation of being among the ablest in the prison. Nicholas 
Posen had been a village school-teacher who had taken no 
specially active part in the revolutionary movement, but 
had chanced to participate in armed resistance to the 
gendarmerie at Kiev, and had been brought to trial in 
consequence, together with Maria Kovalevskaya and others. 
He had been condemned to fourteen years and ten months' 
" katorga," subsequently increased by another fourteen 
years, for an attempt to escape from prison in Irkutsk. 
He was well educated and intelligent, but he had no politi- 
cal convictions worth mentioning. He had a passion for 
argument, and would discuss anything and everything by 
the hour, always ready to prove any given proposition, and 
seizing any pretext for a debate — a philosophical problem, 
or any everyday trifle. Serious study was not his forte, 
1 and his everlasting chatter disturbed others at their work ; 
hardly had his eyes opened in the morning before his 
tongue was set in motion, and it never rested all day 

A favourite theme with him was speculation about the 
day's food : " What do you think we shall have for supper 
to-night ? " he would ask, buttonholing somebody ; "I am 
sure they are making 'everyone -likes -it." "Perhaps; 
but perhaps it is mince and groats," his interlocutor might 
say, just to please* him by falling in with his humour. 
Then Posen's tongue would be loosened, and he would 
prove his important point beyond question, giving all his 

xxiv] SCURVY 245 

reasons ; he would dilate on it for half an hour, and would 
wind up with, " Will you back your opinion ? " 

" All right, we'll have something on it; what shall it be ?" 
" Three matches ! " cries Posen ; everyone laughs ; and 
he himself seems thoroughly pleased with his joke. He 
had at bottom a vain and petty spirit, and showed later 
that he could come to any compromise with the authorities 
in order to satisfy his own small desires. 

Deficiency and poverty of nourishment soon affected 
my health, although I had all my life hitherto been 
thoroughly robust. After a few months I felt a weakness 
in the legs, and could no longer hold myself upright ; then 
black and blue patches made their appearance on the skin 
of my legs, my gums began to suppurate, and my teeth 
became loose. I betook myself to our medical adviser, 

" Hullo, my friend, you have got a beautiful attack of 
scurvy!" said he; "you've been quick about it." He 
ordered me invalid diet, and I was given a daily cutlet 
with plenty of garlic. I was not the only one to suffer in 
this way from the insufficient feeding ; next spring a 
number of us were victims to the same disease, and, 
strangely enough, it was always the strongest and 
healthiest who succumbed. Improved diet and the skil 
of our good Prybylyev soon tided me over the worst ; 
after a while I could walk once more without crutches, my 
gums healed, and soon I could dispense with invalid food. 
For a long time, however, I felt the after-effects of my 

I have a keen recollection of my first spring in Kara. I 
was overcome by an indescribable yearning and longing 
that made the burden of the aimless, senseless life within 
prison walls lie like a leaden weight on my spirits, in face 
of the new life of nature springing up so freely all around. 
Even reading, almost the sole occupation I could invent 
for myself outside the daily work, was impossible. The 


letters danced before my eyes; no sense of what I had 
read remained in my mind ; memory failed me ; and my 
fancy alone worked untiringly. In any case mental exer- 
tion under the conditions of prison life has but little result 
in proportion to the time and energy expended ; the 
physical state of the prisoner reacts on his mind, dulling 
his faculties and weakening his resolution. But in the 
spring-time, when every living thing revives and asserts 
itself in action, it is hardly possible to resist distraction 
from merely mental labour. 

Our prison lay in the trough of a valley between ranges 
of hills, and from the yard these hills could be seen by 
us. There was very scanty vegetation on those Siberian 
heights ; yet in spring they appeared to us like a distant 
Paradise that beckoned irresistibly. Close by we had only 
the well-trodden courtyard, where not even a blade of 
grass peeped forth, the black weather-stained wooden walls 
of the prison buildings, and the tall posts of the stockade ; 
our eyes dwelt on the farther prospect, and we pictured to 
ourselves the delight of treading on soft turf under the 
shade of trees. 

We petitioned our " tom-cat " for leave to plant a garden 
in the yard ; there was space enough, the work would have 
been beneficial, and then we might have had vegetables 
for our table, the deficiency in which particular had been 
so detrimental to our health. The "tom-cat" roundly 
refused. "We should need spades," he said, "and they 
might be used to dig a hole whereby to get away." So, 
again, when one of us was sent some flower-seeds and 
sowed them in a wooden box, the box was taken away 
by Nikolin's orders: the earth in it might have served to 
conceal some contraband article. Such needless tyrannies 
embittered us still more against the detested commandant. 
However peaceably we might otherwise have been inclined, 
our hatred of this man might well have blazed out at any 
opportunity; he himself probably guessed as much, for he 
became more and more mistrustful, at last never entering 


our prison. He felt that he had made enemies all round 
him, and sat lonely in his own house, or squabbled with his 
cook, afraid to show himself outside. It may be a matter 
of surprise that one of his many enemies did not find a 
way to put an end to him, that being a not unusual course 
of events in Kara ; but finally he could endure such a 
life no longer, and applied to be transferred elsewhere. In 
the spring of 1887 his application was granted, and he 
departed, accompanied by the anathemas of the entire 
population of Kara. 



OUR life was one of dismal uniformity. Day after 
day, month after month, went past and left no trace 
in remembrance. One day was exactly like another, and 
all alike seemed endless. Whole years elapsed, and from 
each three hundred and sixty-five days there could not be 
singled out one on which any event had occurred worthy 
of recollection. In vain one racks one's brain trying 
to arouse a memory of that monotonous past. When 
we arose in the morning we knew exactly what the day 
would bring ; indeed, one knew beforehand what the next 
day and the next week and month would contain. One 
knew the manners, customs, inclinations of every comrade 
in misfortune, could tell what each would be likely to say 
or do on any given occasion, and sometimes one would 
long to run away and hide, and never see their faces again. 
But there is no running away ; every minute of the year 
you are obliged to endure the company of those others, and 
to burden them with your own ; there is not a moment 
in which you can be alone, not a corner in the common 
room to which you can withdraw for real privacy. 

To all this is added the rigour of the prison routine: 
the roll-call morning and evening, the periodical inspec- 
tions, the shaving of heads that takes place with painful 
regularity, the constant presence of the gendarmes. The 



strain at times becomes insupportable, and the nerves are 
so shattered that the creaking of the great lock in the 
frequent opening and shutting of the door affects one 
almost to madness. Many of us became irritable to an 
extent incomprehensible to a normally sound person, and 
with some of us (though not with many) this would at 
times lead to loss of temper and quarrelling over the 
veriest nothings. It thus once happened that two friends, 
both intelligent and well-educated men of mature years, fell 
out with one another literally about an egg-shell, which 
occasioned a dispute that led to a break between them. 
This can only be conceivable if one realises that even 
people who love each other tenderly might find it difficult 
to endure such close and uninterrupted intercourse. What, 
then, must have been our situation, locked up together, 
forced to inflict unwillingly on each other a companionship 
which there was no alternative but to accept ? 

We had, however, our small joys and alleviations. The 
most welcome event was the arrival of the post, which in 
winter came every ten days, in summer every week. I 
can hardly depict the intense eagerness with which many 
of us awaited the post days, counting the hours till the 
mail might be expected to reach the prison. Some would 
stand for hours by the stockade, watching to see the 
commandant start on his drive to the post-office, which 
was some versts distant ; then they would impatiently 
await his return, not omitting to let their comrades know 
the result of their observations. The post brought us 
letters, newspapers, books, money, and occasionally a 
parcel — a present, a token of affection. All this made 
indeed a break in the dull routine of daily existence, and 
not one could remain an uninterested spectator. On the 
arrival of money depended our common exchequer, and 
the amount of our private pocket-money ; newspapers and 
reviews brought the news for which we thirsted passion- 
ately, especially the tidings of political events. They were 
eagerly seized on, and their reading at once furnished 


subjects of talk and discussion, although those years were 
times of thorough reaction, not only in Russia, but in 
Western Europe, so that what we read was nearly always 
disheartening, causing us to lay the paper down depressed 
in spirits. 

Moreover, only the most conservative, uninteresting 
papers were permitted us, with the sole exception of 
the well-known review Vestnik Evropuy (The European 
Messenger), which for some unknown reason was allowed 
to pass. Some of our newspaper readers studied the 
whole publication from beginning to end, and remembered 
every little detail. Many of us, however, were chiefly 
interested in the arrival of home letters, the source of so 
much joy and of so much sorrow. Constant anxiety about 
our dear ones was caused by the long interval between the 
despatch and the receipt of correspondence, which was 
often six weeks or two months on the way, and when the 
roads were impassable, as is often the case in Siberia for 
months together, the posts were even longer delayed. 

All letters received by us were first read by the com- 
mandant, and subjected to a strict censure ; they were 
also tested with a solution of chlorate of iron, to see 
whether any entries had been made in them with invisible 
chemical ink. But what was most cruel was that we were 
not permitted to answer on our own account ; we might 
only send a post card in the name of the commandant, 
acknowledging the receipt of a letter or other communica- 
tion, and giving the briefest information as to health, 
somewhat in this fashion : " Your son (brother, nephew) 
is well. The money (or whatever it was) sent to him by 
you has been received, and he begs you to send him 

the following " This is signed by the commandant, 

but as the card is written by the prisoner himself, his 
correspondents may be assured from his handwriting that 
he is alive and is in possession of their missives, nothing 
further. Under such conditions correspondence is often 
a torture to both parties, yet those who could have 

xxv] THE POST 251 

even this much intercourse with home were envied by the 
lonely ones who never expected letters at all. There was 
more than one such among us, and how often when the 
letters were distributed would one or other of them say 
sorrowfully, " If only someone would send me a line ! " It 
is terrible to think of being thousands of miles from home 
in the solitudes of Siberia, and not to know of a single 
soul who may sometimes remember one's existence ; yet, 
as I say, some of our comrades at Kara were in this 
forlorn situation. How great was the rejoicing if one of 
these outcasts unexpectedly received a letter from some 
relation, or some friend of former days ! The lucky one 
would order tea, and perhaps even cakes for the whole 
room to celebrate the occasion ; the letter itself would 
become a much-talked-of treasure, and the most interest- 
ing portions would be read aloud to intimate friends. 

Treating one's room-mates was also customary if one 
had had any specially good news from home. The contents 
of such a letter would be immediately imparted to all the 
other rooms, and sometimes extracts containing tidings of 
universal interest would be circulated. Certainly the com- 
mandants, and the "tom-cat" particularly, took every 
means for suppressing such tidings, blotting out in our 
letters everything outside the narrow circle of personal 
matters ; but we had always ways and means of obtaining 
intelligence of political and other events that it concerned 
us to know about. The inventiveness shown by some of 
our party in devising this was sometimes astonishing ; 
moreover, we occasionally managed to get delivered to us 
through the commandant literature strictly prohibited in 
Russia. He, of course, was enjoined to examine most 
carefully every book and parcel that arrived ; but we con- 
trived to supplement the officially prescribed channels of 
correspondence, either by inducing some corruptible mem- 
ber of the prison staff to assist us, or by some other device. 
Intercourse with the women's prison, which was strictly 
forbidden, was also effected by means of this " secret post," 


and it likewise enabled us to communicate with the exiles 
in different parts of Siberia. 

Our official postal transactions were always effected 
through our starosta, the commandant telling him what 
money had been received and for whom, and he informing 
the prisoners. The librarian had charge of all printed 
matter sent to us, and the order in which each new book 
or newspaper should be passed round was arranged most 
exactly beforehand. If anyone had a present — linen, boots, 
or anything of that kind — it was open to him to keep it 
for himself or to hand it over to the starosta. In the latter 
case everyone was made aware that such and such things 
were to be had ; whoever wanted them might announce 
the fact, and the award was decided by lot. If the gift 
consisted of eatables, it was at once given to the starosta, 
who divided it among the rooms. In each room there was 
a " general divider " — one whose office it was to divide with 
scrupulous exactitude among all the inmates every portion 
of food and every tit-bit that fell to their share — a task 
which frequently called for the exhibition of much talent 
and artistic judgment. This post of "divider" was usually 
held by somebody of a mathematical turn, and he officiated 
as carver at meals, serving out each person's due portion 
with careful impartiality. 

This striving after equality in every particular developed 
into a passion with some of our number, till it became 
actually painful to them to receive any little gift that could 
not be shared, and they would feel obliged to apologise 
for it to all their comrades ; very rarely did anyone who 
received a present wish selfishly to keep it entirely to him- 
self. A few were so scrupulous that they did not consider 
it right, in asking for new books from home, to consult 
merely their own individual taste, but made the others 
draw up a list of books that they wished for ; and that 
perfect equality might govern the transaction, the sum of 
money set aside for the purchase was divided among the 
whole number of prisoners, so that each one could choose 


books to the value of the amount allotted to him. In this 
way everybody would be catered for — the lover of belles 
lettres as well as the student of abstruse scientific or philo- 
sophical subjects. 

Ranking next to the mails as a source of enjoyment 
must be reckoned the bath-house. Especially after a week 
of hard and dirty kitchen work, the vapour-bath and clean 
linen were a real luxury, and when one came from the 
bath-room, extended one's tired limbs on the bed-shelf, 
and let one's thoughts wander idly as one sipped hot tea, 
a feeling of such physical well-being would pervade one as 
to cause all disagreeables to be forgotten for the moment. 
Although the freshly donned under-linen was anything but 
fine, and not very artistically washed and got up, being apt 
to scratch a sensitive skin ; although the grey prison- 
clothes were neither convenient nor beautiful — still one 
revelled in the sensation of comfort and relaxation, and if 
it happened also to be mail-day, delight was complete. 

" Well, I hope you're enjoying yourself, you epicurean ! " 
someone would cry, knowing full well himself the pleasure 
of such an hour. 

Chess was a favourite pastime, and we had some 
champion players among us, especially Yatzevitch and 
Zoubrtchitsky, who, besides having had much practice, 
had studied the game scientifically. Sometimes we had 
chess tournaments, with all the rigour of the game, and 
prizes were given — of course, consisting of tea or some 
other of our small luxuries. On such occasions the whole 
prison took the liveliest interest in the combat ; the final 
" mate " being announced in all the rooms, and the play 
exhaustively criticised. 

Music was also cultivated. Our choir had an extensive 
repertory, in which the melancholy moods of Little Russia 
were contrasted with the dramatic Great Russian folk- 
songs. It included operatic choruses, and, of course, the 
revolutionary songs so dear to us all — the Marseillaise and 
many others. After Commandant Nikolin had departed, 


and we were less harried and thwarted, one of our geniuses 
constructed a violin, upon which various gifted friends 
practised with great assiduity : not — it must be confessed 
— exactly to the edification of the rest of us who had 
perforce to listen. Posen and one or two others tortured 
the ears of their comrades further by truly terrible musical 
performances on ordinary hair-combs. 

Another way of passing time was to invent riddles and 
act charades, which was especially fashionable in our 
" Sanhedrin." And when some new-comers brought with 
them a few packs of cards, the game of whist — then just 
coming into vogue in Russia — so carried away some of 
our party that they were at it literally day and night. On 
the whole, however, card-playing did not find much favour 
among us. 

Physical exercise would have been most welcome to 
many of us, but as long as the " tom-cat " ruled the 
roast it was possible only in a very restricted measure ; all 
he would consent to was that in winter we should make a 
sledge-track in a part of the yard where the ground sloped 
slightly, and we there disported ourselves on little sledges 
made by ourselves. 

One of Nikolin's successors saw no objection to our 
laying out a garden, and during the next spring we were 
extremely busy over this. Some of our number, great 
lovers of nature, exhibited quite passionate energy in this 
pursuit ; they worked at their beds with most industrious 
care, watered, manured, and weeded untiringly, and tended 
each plant as though it were a beloved child. All sorts 
of different plants and flowers were cultivated, I myself 
had a special affection for sunflowers, which reminded me 
of my South Russian home ; wherever possible I sowed 
their seeds, and in summer my fosterlings shot up 
magnificently, their thick stems standing erect along our 
" boulevard," as we called the path by the stockade, 
whence, by looking through the chinks, we could see 
the road and the commandant's house. When the tall 


To face page 254 



plants hung down their heads, it seemed as though they 
looked down on us poor captives and wondered at the 
cruelty of man to man. " So many young men wasting 
their best years, half their lives, here in prison, only be- 
cause they strove for the welfare of their country as they 
understood it ! " And when the sunflowers straightened 
themselves and held aloft their golden crowns, they might 
be saying, " Do not lose courage, poor convicts ! The time 
will come when you too with proudly lifted heads shall 
return to your beloved home." 

Nikolin's successor, Captain Yakovlov, exerted himself 
to mitigate the severity of our prison regime, which the 
"tom-cat" had administered so tyrannically. He seemed 
to be a compassionate and humane man, who — while keep- 
ing to the prescribed regulations — was not concerned to 
aggravate our hard lot by superfluous restrictions and 
unnecessary harshness. Perhaps his conduct was partly 
influenced by the knowledge that he was only filling the 
position temporarily, as a stop -^яр for Colonel Masyukov 
of the gendarmerie, who was shortly to be sent from 
Petersburg ; probably also he wanted to have as little 
squabbling with us as possible. He belonged to a class 
of men to be found in great numbers both in Russia and 
in Siberia, who have one overwhelming weakness — love 
of drink. His devotion to the bottle was most assiduous, 
and he often had evidently had more than was good for 
him; but for all that, we breathed more freely under 
his rule, and regarded with anxiety the advent of the new 

After a six months' interval Colonel Masyukov entered 
upon his office, in the winter of 1877, and made his first 
round of the prison, accompanied by Yakovlov. He was 
a man of short stature, with grey hair and moustache, 
very quick in his movements, despite his fifty years ; he 
spoke in an unpleasant falsetto voice, and looked rather 
like a plucked chicken. His whole appearance betokened 


a weak and characterless disposition, as unluckily proved 
to be the case, both to his own and our misfortune. In- 
tellectually limited, but good-tempered enough, Masyukov 
was quite unlike one's idea of a staff officer of gendarmerie; 
indeed, he was in no way cut out for such a service, 
and knew this himself better than anyone. He had only 
joined the gendarmerie as a result of unforeseen circum- 
stances. Son of a country gentleman, he had been for 
a time an officer in the Guards, afterwards returning to 
his estate, where he gave himself up to riotous living. 
The good dinners he gave were probably the reason of 
his being elected Marshal of Nobility for his district, and 
his subsequent dissipation led eventually to the ruin of his 
finances. To re-establish himself in some measure, and 
also, it was said, to discharge his debts of honour, he was 
obliged again to enter the service of the State, and he 
became an officer of gendarmes, induced by the higher 
pay given in that branch of the service, as compared 
with others of like standing, especially for those employed 
in the distant parts of Siberia. The Commandant of 
Kara was paid four to five thousand roubles per annum, 
with house, servants, horses, fuel, etc. As a late officer 
in the Guards and Marshal of Nobility, Masyukov was 
soon made colonel, and appointed to the vacant post at 
Kara. He himself declared afterwards that he had come 
with the honest intention of doing his best to better our 
lot ; but hell is proverbially paved with good resolutions, 
and the political prisoners suffered more under this well- 
meaning bon vivant than under many a thorough-paced 
tyrant. But I will not anticipate. 

During the early days of Masyukov's rule we were able 
to rejoice in more than one concession. Besides the grant- 
ing of our petition for a garden, the doors of our rooms 
were now hardly ever locked by day, and within the 
stockade surrounding the prison yard we could wander 
about as we pleased. In Nikolin's time one of the rooms 
had always been empty, and for some reason or other 

xxv] THE " COMMUNE" 257 

he had refused to let us use it ; now we were allowed 
possession of it, and also of the wing containing single 
cells, during the summer months. We thus had more 
space, and anyone who wished for solitude could be alone 
for a few hours at a time ; our musicians, too, with their 
instruments of torture, could be sent where they disturbed 
no one. 

Another relief was that the rule against the possession 
of tools was less strictly interpreted, and we were no longer 
obliged to conceal any work we had in hand. A vice and 
some other tools were procured, and our arts and crafts 
flourished exceedingly. Even an amateur photographer 
was discovered among us, and with the help of our car- 
penters set up a regular studio ; but I cannot say that his 
performances were at all remarkable. 

Masyukov did his best to meet our views, and fulfilled 
our requests whenever possible. Among other things he 
agreed that we might settle as we liked in what room 
each of us should live ; so Stefanovitch and I at once 
made use of this permission. Our two and a half years' 
abode in the " Sanhedrin " had been very irksome to us 
both, and when the " great migration " caused by the 
above-mentioned expansion of our territory took place, we 
transferred ourselves into the room called the " Commune," 
or sometimes "the hospital." It was more comfortable 
than the other rooms in one or two particulars ; it con- 
tained proper bedsteads, for instance, and besides the big 
table there were also little tables, one between each pair 
of beds. 

It was, as a rule, unusual for the inmates of a room 
voluntarily to change their abode ; we called the feeling 
about this "room-patriotism." Such patriots were very 
keen about their own room, which was, of course, always 
" the best " ; they never left their room-mates in the lurch, 
were proud of the success of any of them, and sorrowed 
over their griefs. The inmates of the u Commune" seemed 
the least possessed by this esprit de corps, perhaps because 


most of them were among those nomads who had already 
changed rooms more than once. Here, too, in contra- 
distinction to the habits of the other rooms, each man 
was much occupied with his own affairs ; we isolated our- 
selves more, and rarely held common debates or jollifica- 
tions ; most of us immersed ourselves in serious study, 
and on that account less noise and merriment went on 
among us. 

One of the most interesting of our new room-mates, 
and an original altogether, was Leo Zlatopolsky, 1 to whom 
I must devote a few words. He had studied in the Peters- 
burg Technological Institute, had been concerned in the 
"Trial of the Twenty" in 1882, and sentenced to twenty 
years' penal servitude. He had never himself been an active 
revolutionist, but as he was proficient in mathematical and 
mechanical knowledge, he had helped the Terrorists in 
purely technical matters. Even as a student he had been 
looked on as an inventive genius, and in prison inventions 
became a mania with him. For a long time he was 
busy with the project of a circular town, wherein every- 
thing was to be run by electricity ; and even plants were 
to be cultivated by that means, for the light and heat 
of the sun were much too simple affairs to satisfy our in- 
ventor. He had a scheme for a flying-machine that should 
not only carry us all up into aerial heights, but should also 
be unaffected by the velocity of our Mother Earth's proper 
motion. Then he evolved his own theory of values ; and 
beside all these high matters he would also occupy himself 
with the most prosaic and humble affairs, such as new 
methods of doing the washing, boiling potatoes, or making 
shoes. He elaborated a new theory of heating dwellings, 
invented new card games ; in short, in every department 
of life, he was prepared to upset the existing condition of 
things and build it all up anew in some hitherto undreamt- 
of fashion. His beautiful plans, however, all suffered from 
one small disqualification : they were never practicable in 

1 See portrait, p. 209. 




















xxv] NEW ARRIVALS 259 

real life. That, of course, he would never allow, declaring 
his inventions to be perfect and beyond criticism ; but this 
did not prevent him from throwing one after another aside 
to pursue some fresh idea with equal energy. Not un- 
naturally he soon became the butt of everyone's jokes, and 
most absurd stories were told about him. He was really a 
very capable and learned man ; but there was just some- 
thing wanting to make him a genius. Perhaps we were 
right in setting him down, as we did, among Lombroso's 
" matoids." 

During the first three years of my stay in Kara the 
number of prisoners in our prison remained practically 
constant ; a few were allowed to settle in the penal colony, 
but their places were soon taken by new-comers. Besides 
Spandoni — left behind at Krasnoyarsk, as I have related — 
who rejoined us at Kara in the spring of 1886, five comrades 
arrived in the autumn of the same year. They had been 
condemned in the " Case of the Proletariat," in Warsaw : 
Dulemba, a workman, to thirteen years' "katorga" ; Kohn, 
a student, eight years ; Luri, an officer of engineers, con- 
demned to death, but reprieved and sentenced to twenty 
years' penal servitude ; Mankovsky, a workman, sixteen 
years ; Rechnyevsky, a graduate of the College of Juris- 
prudence in Petersburg, fourteen years. 1 The year after 
came Pashkovsky, who in March, 1887, was condemned, 
(as a participator in the attempt upon Alexander III.,) to 
ten years' " katorga " ; and the peasant Ozovsky, sentenced 
to six years. In the course of 1888 arrived Peter Yaku- 
bovitch and Souhomlin, 2 sentenced respectively to eighteen 
and fifteen years' penal servitude, both in the Lopatin case. 

In the course of time participators in nearly every 
political trial of the period — from the famous Netshaev 
case in 1 87 1 to that of Lopatin and Sigida in 1887 — were 

1 See portrait-group opposite. From a photograph taken on the arrival at 
Kara of these five "politicals." — Trans. 
" See portrait, p. 260. 


numbered among the " politicals " in the two Kara prisons, 
that for men and that for women ; and as, of course, the 
various comrades talked much of the events in which they 
themselves had been concerned, Kara furnished a sort of 
living chronicle of the revolutionary movement, and was 
perhaps the only place where one could study the history 
of Russian Socialism from the testimony of personal ex- 
perience. None of us, however, ever thought of committing 
to paper the material that was here available ; and it is 
much to be doubted whether there is now anyone left in a 
position to do so. Much that would be extremely interest- 
ing is probably destined to remain buried in oblivion. 

During my term of imprisonment none of those impli- 
cated in the first-mentioned Netshaev trial (which belonged 
to the "Propagandist' 1 phase of our movement, in 1870,) 
were still in Kara. They had all been released from prison 
and sent into exile, and I saw nothing of them ; but of 
course I had known personally many of these revolutionists 
of earlier days when they were still in freedom. 

I shared the captivity of several who were sentenced in 
the various political trials towards the end of the seventies, 
these having been mostly concerned in deeds of violence, 
from armed resistance to the police to attempts on the 
life of the Tsar. The chief combatants in that terrorist 
campaign had for the most part ended their days on the 
scaffold, or were buried alive within the grim walls of 
Schliisselburg or in the Alexei-Ravelin wing of the 
Fortress of Peter and Paul. I had been acquainted with 
most of them, both men and women, before their fate 
overtook them, and I could set down much that I learned 
from these comrades in the terrorist struggle ; but my 
reminiscences already threaten to assume formidable 
dimensions, and I will only briefly mention some of the 
most remarkable of such incidents. 

Voynoralsky and Kovalik were two prominent actors in 
the Propagandist movement, both of whom had been 
justices of the peace. In May, 1876, when imprisoned in 

xxv] MEDVEDIEV 261 

the examination-prison in Petersburg, assisted by com- 
rades outside they made an attempt to escape. They 
succeeded in getting out of their cell and climbing down a 
rope-ladder from one of the corridor windows ; but an 
official who happened to be driving past the prison, 
thinking they were ordinary criminals, gave the alarm, 
and they were caught. They were sentenced to terms of 
penal servitude in the "Trial of the 193"; but again an 
attempt was made to rescue them, a plan being made to 
enable them to escape while being transported to the 
Kharkov prison, where the prisoners considered most 
dangerous were then confined. This was in July, 1878. 
A number of armed men, two of them mounted, stopped 
the prison-van in which Voynoralsky and Kovalik were 
being conveyed ; one of the gendarmes guarding it was 
shot, and the attempt might have been successful had not 
the horses taken fright and stampeded, which led to the 
recapture of the prisoners. Voynoralsky and Kovalik 
spent many years of confinement in European Russia, 
and were then sent, in company with many other 
revolutionists, to Kara, where they finished their term of 
imprisonment, subsequently being exiled in Yakutsk. 
Most of their companions found graves in the wilds of 
Siberia, but Voynoralsky and Kovalik survived their hour 
of release; in the winter of 1898- 1899 they returned to 
European Russia, where Voynoralsky died soon afterwards 
in his own home. 

The attempted rescue just described had further con- 
sequences. The evening after, one of the riders who had 
stopped the prison-van was arrested at Kharkov station ; 
this was Alexei Medvediev, also called Fomin. He 
managed subsequently to escape from Kharkov gaol with 
a number of ordinary criminals, by burrowing under a 
wall. As, however, outside help failed them, there was 
nothing for it but to hide in a wood near by, where they 
were soon recaptured. The comrades then resolved to try 
and rescue Medvediev, and arranged the following plan. 


Two young men, Berezniak and Rashko, disguised them- 
selves as gendarmes, and brought to the prison a forged 
order that Medvediev should be handed over to them and 
taken for examination to the office of the gendarmerie. 
But either in consequence (as the two asserted) of 
treachery, or else because the prison staff saw something 
suspicious about the supposed gendarmes, they were 
arrested on the spot. Yatzevitch was arrested at the 
same time, he being on the watch outside, ready to assist 
the flight of the others ; and soon afterwards Yefremov 
and some others involved in the affair were also captured. 
In the subsequent trial Yefremov was condemned to death, 
but the sentence was commuted to penal servitude for life, 
and Berezniak had a like penalty; these two and Yatze- 
vitch were sent at once to Kara. Medvediev was treated 
differently : he was condemned to death and the sentence 
modified to lifelong penal servitude ; but as attempts to 
rescue him were dreaded he was kept closely guarded in 
first one, then another West Siberian prison, was then 
taken to the Alexei-Ravelin in Petersburg, and was only 
brought to Kara in 1884. He was a man of consummate 
bravery, who literally despised danger, and was always 
ready to embark on the most perilous adventure. He 
had been a postillion, and had only received a scanty 
education at an elementary school ; but by his own 
exertions while in prison he had gained quite a respect- 
able amount of knowledge. He was particularly clever 
with his fingers, and performed some really astonishing 
feats. While imprisoned in Petersburg he secretly 
modelled a statuette in bread, which, when it was event- 
ually discovered by the gendarmes, evoked great admira- 
tion from the commandant of the fortress and other 
officials, so marvellously was it executed. Thanks partly 
to this achievement, he was afterwards granted a special 
order modifying his sentence of lifelong "katorga" to a 
term of twenty years, upon which he was sent to Kara. 
There he became an adept in various handicrafts ; he was 


an excellent tailor, shoemaker, engraver, and sculptor ; 
and afterwards, when he was living " free " in exile, he 
became a watchmaker and goldsmith. Unfortunately soon 
after he left the prison he fell a victim to alcoholism, to 
which he had an inherited predisposition ; all attempts at 
reclaiming him were vain, and in a few years he was 
beyond hope. 

Just about the time of the attempted rescue at Kharkov 
the revolutionists in Petersburg were put into a state 
of frightful excitement by other events. A number of 
those condemned in the " Case of the 193 " were awaiting, 
in the Peter and Paul fortress, their transportation to 
Siberia ; and in consequence of the vexatious and cruel 
treatment to which they were subjected, they had recourse 
to a hunger-strike, which, as most of them had already 
suffered years of imprisonment while still on remand, 
might easily have proved fatal to their enfeebled constitu- 
tions. After the strike had lasted some days, the society 
Zemlya i Vblya (Land and Liberty) became aware of 
what was going on, and one of its members, Kravtchinsky, 1 
a former lieutenant in the artillery, declared at once that 
he would avenge his comrades by killing General Mezentzev, 
the chief of gendarmerie, the man who was chiefly respon- 
sible for the persecution of the " politicals." This deed he 
wished to undertake single-handed and openly without 
troubling about safety for himself, like Vera Zassoulitch, who 
on January 24th, 1878, had fired at General Trepov, Governor 
of Petersburg. 2 Many of Kravtchinsky's comrades — my- 
self among the number — opposed his resolve. Mezentzev 
was not worth such a sacrifice, and we insisted that if the 
attempt were made it should be in such a manner as to 
make possible the escape of the perpetrator. To this end 
General Mezentzev' s doings were carefully observed that 
we might ascertain his hours of coming and going ; and 
close to his dwelling a carriage was constantly stationed 

1 Better known in England as Stepniak. — Trans. 

2 For having ordered the flogging of a political prisoner. — Trans % 


with the famous trotter Barbar, who had already saved 
one life — that of Prince Peter Kropotkin in his escape 
from the prison hospital in 1876. One day in August, 
1878, Mezentzev was stabbed in one of the busiest streets 
of Petersburg, and, thanks to the speed of Barbar, 
Kravtchinsky and his companion Barannikov got away 
safely. Subsequently a great number of persons were 
arrested on account of this deed, among others, Adrian 
Mihailov, who was accused of acting as coachman. He 
was sentenced to twenty years' " katorga," and was for 
some time my room-mate at Kara. 

Adrian Mihailov was another very talented member 
of our company. He had a thirst for knowledge, and 
a really remarkable memory. He had been a medical 
student, knew a great deal of natural science, and had 
dipped into various other branches of learning. We called 
him " the living encyclopaedia," and it was popularly 
supposed that there was hardly a question he could not 
answer. He could always give the date of any historical 
event, seemed to remember everything he read, and easily 
made himself at home in the most difficult subjects. He 
was resolute, inflexible, and energetic ; and his mental 
superiority gave him an immense influence over his 

Finally, I must mention Yemelyanov, 1 one of those 
concerned in the assassination of Alexander II. As is 
well known, the Tsar was killed by a bomb thrown under 
his carriage by Grynevitsky. 2 Besides that youth and 
Russakov, who was brought to the scaffold, Yemelyanov 
was also directly accessory to the deed. He was standing 
close by when the explosion took place, with another bomb 
in readiness, but did not need to make use of it, seeing 
that the Tsar had already met his fate. He was arrested 
soon after, and with ten others was condemned to death in 
the " Trial of the Twenty." The death-sentence was, how- 

1 See portrait, p. 209. 

2 Grynevitsky himself was killed by the explosion. — Trans. 

xxv] YEMELYANOV 265 

ever, only carried out in the case of Suhanov, an officer 
of marines, that of the others being commuted to penal 
servitude for life. Yemelyanov and his companions were 
imprisoned in the Fortress of Peter and Paul. He was to 
have been sent to Schlusselburg when the new fortress 
there was completed, but owing to his being seized by 
serious illness this was not done, and instead he was sent 
to Kara in 1884. He was the son of a sacristan of the 
Orthodox Church, had attended a school of handicraft, 
and had later been sent at the State's expense to Paris, 
where he sang as a chorister in the chapel of the Russian 
Embassy. When a youth of twenty he had returned to 
Russia, and associated himself with the Terrorists. He 
possessed considerable intelligence, and had gradually 
acquired a fair amount of information, self-taught. When 
I became acquainted with him he was a disillusioned 
sceptic, and spoke ironically of revolutionary ideas. Like 
Fomitchov and one or two others, he had become an 
admirer of Russian imperialism, and he reaped the reward 
of his opinions ; but of that later. 


THE women's prison 

I CO ME now to the most tragic time of my imprison- 
ment and the saddest of my recollections, a series 
of events in connection with our unhappy fellow-sufferers 
in the women's prison. We were always well instructed 
as to how our ladies were faring, for in spite of all the 
measures taken to prevent it, letters continually passed 
between us. Concerning the subject of the following 
narrative I also learned many additional details later from 
some of our women comrades. 

When I first came to Kara ten women " politicals " 
were imprisoned there, one of whom — Lebedieva — died 
soon after my arrival. The most remarkable among those 
remaining was Sophia Loschern von Herzfeld. She was 
the daughter of a general, and her relations belonged to 
the Court circles in Petersburg. She joined the Propa- 
gandist movement in the early sixties, and lived among 
the peasants, dressed like one of themselves, trying to 
diffuse the ideas of " peaceful " Socialism, if I may so call 
it. She was arrested, endured four years' imprisonment 
while still under examination, and was at last banished 
to Siberia in the " Case of the 193." The efforts of one of 
her relatives, a lady in the Tsaritsa's household, procured 
her pardon, and in 1878 she was released from prison, 
at which time I made her acquaintance in Petersburg. 
But she was not allowed to enjoy her liberty for long ; 
a year later she was arrested in Kiev, and resisted capture 








To face page 266 


"with weapons in her hand." She was brought before a 
court-martial, together with Ossinsky and Voloshenko ; 
she and Ossinsky were condemned to death, and he paid 
the full penalty of the law, but in her case " by favour " 
the sentence was commuted to penal servitude for life, 
and she was deported to Kara in 1879. Sophia Loschern 
von Herzfeld was modest and even shy in manner, giving 
the impression of an extremely reserved character. She 
suffered a longer term of imprisonment than any other 
participant in the revolutionary movement of the early 

Her friend Anna Korba 1 I had also known in Peters- 
burg in 1879 ; she had then just returned from the seat of 
war in Turkey, where she had been nursing the wounded. 
She belonged to a German family named Meinhardt, 
naturalised in Russia, numerous members of which had 
filled high official positions, and she herself married a 
foreigner. She had been extremely active in philanthropic 
work, and was adored by the people of the provincial 
town where she lived ; but she learned by bitter experience 
how futile, under the existing political conditions, were all 
attempts to effect even the smallest reforms by merely 
quiet educative means, and she joined the terrorist society 
Narbdnaia Vblya in the beginning of the eighties. It was 
just then that the desperate struggle of that party against 
the Tsar's despotic government had reached its height. 
Anna Korba saw her friends and comrades arrested by 
the dozen, sent to the scaffold, or buried alive in prison. 
The "white terror" raged. In 1882 the chief of the secret 
police, Soudyehkin, had succeeded in capturing most of 
the Terrorists who still remained at large after the assault 
on Alexander II., and Anna Korba took up the task of 
continuing the struggle in company with the last remnants 
of the fighters. A secret laboratory for the manufacture 
of dynamite bombs was set up in Petersburg ; this was 
discovered by Soudyehkin, and in June, 1882, Anna Korba 

1 See portrait, p. 266, 

268 THE WOMEN'S PRISON [chap. 

was arrested, together with Gratchensky, the officer But- 
zevitch, and the married couple Prybylyev. Next spring 
she was tried with sixteen others, and sentenced to twenty 
years' penal servitude. 

Anna Korba was a highly educated woman, in character 
courageous, even-tempered, and persevering. She holds 
the same views to-day as when she first threw herself 
into the fight, and this unswerving faith in her cause 
impresses with respect even people who cannot share her 

Before I proceed to describe the other inmates of the 
women's prison, I must digress for a moment to relate an in- 
cident which in its time caused great excitement among the 
newspaper-reading public. Towards the end of February, 
1 88 1, the police of Petersburg had their suspicions directed 
to a certain cheesemonger's shop in that city, where some- 
thing illegal was supposed to be going forward. A search- 
party, one member of which was an engineer of the 
pioneer corps, was sent to investigate, but discovered 
nothing of any consequence. The next day came the 
assassination of the Tsar, and three days after that the 
cheese-shop was suddenly deserted by its occupants, among 
whom had been a married couple calling themselves 
K6bozev — peasants from the interior of Russia, according 
to their perfectly regular papers. The police now made a 
more effectual search, and found that a subterranean 
passage had been made from the cheese-shop to the 
Malaya Sadovaya, a street through which the Tsar often 
passed. This tunnel had been meant to serve as a 
mine for blowing up the Tsar's carriage in case the bombs 
had failed to do their work. It is easy to imagine what 
must have been the feelings of the two revolutionists who 
passed under the name of Kobozev when the police made 
their first visit to the shop ; the underground passage had 
then just been completed, and the cases and barrels, 
supposed to contain cheese, were filled with the earth that 
had been dug out. Had the police but lifted the straw 

xxvi] ANNA YAKIMOVA 269 

matting that covered them, the whole plot, like many 
others before, might have been doomed to failure. 

The humble peasant-woman who had served in that 
shop was Anna Yaklmova. She was the daughter of a 
priest, and had been a village schoolmistress. Like so 
many others, she had gone "among the people," and 
had been one of the accused in the " Case of the 
193 " ; she was acquitted, but was nevertheless sent by 
administrative order to a forlorn spot in the north of 
Russia, whence in 1879 she escaped and came to Peters- 
burg, where I made her acquaintance. Subsequently she 
joined the Narbdnaia Vblya, and took an active part in a 
series of attempts against the life of the Tsar. She had 
helped Zhelyabov and others in 1879 to undermine the 
station at Alexandrovskaya, through which the Tsar was 
expected to pass. After many escapes she was eventually 
arrested, and condemned to death in the " Trial of the 
Twenty"; but her sentence was commuted, she was im- 
prisoned in the Fortress of Peter and Paul, and sent to 
Kara in 1884. I need hardly say that Anna Yakimova 
was a person of strong-willed and determined character ; 
all the women who took part in our movement of the 
seventies were of one type in that respect, and eminently 
so Praskovya Ivanovskaya and Nadyeshda Smirnitskaya, 
(both sentenced in 1883,) who, with Yakimova, formed a 
little group by themselves in the Kara prison. They had 
been friends of old, shared the same opinions, and were 
similar in tastes and temperament. 

Besides these, Elizabeth Kovalskaya, 1 Sophia Bogomo- 
letz, 1 and Elena Rossikova, 2 all of whom were brought to 
Kara in 1885, an d Maria Kalyushnaya — who, it will be 
remembered, had travelled thither with Tchuikov and my- 
self — completed the number of our women " politicals." 

These inmates of the women's prison constituted in a 
certain sense the elite of our band ; for while in the men's 
prison a great number were mere boys whose opinions 

1 See note, p. 189 et scq. 2 See page 192. 

27o THE WOMEN'S PRISON [chap. 

were scarcely formed, and who only languished in Siberia 
because of senseless persecutions under martial law, the 
women were without exception tried and convinced ad- 
herents of the revolutionary movement, whose sentiments 
and ideas were fixed once and for all. In Russia alone 
has the historical development of events induced so great 
a number of women belonging to the upper classes of 
society to leave the circles in which they were born, in 
order to aid in freeing a nation from political slavery. 

Conditions of life in the women's prison were on the 
whole a little better than in ours. Above all, each had a 
cell to herself — small, dark, and damp, it is true, but this 
spared them the most irksome of our trials, that absence 
of quiet which made our existence so hard to bear. They 
could enjoy companionship if they so desired, as a large 
common room was also provided for them, and the doors 
of the cells were left open by day ; but whenever they 
pleased they could isolate themselves. They were better 
provided with material comforts than we were, for they 
received more money from their relations ; and they could 
even occasionally contribute to our exchequer. Then, of 
course, they had not to submit to the barbarous process of 
head-shaving ; they might wear their ordinary clothes, and 
the staff generally abstained from teasing them with petty 
restrictions. But the peculiar characteristics of these 
women, their whole mode of thought, their inflexibility of 
purpose, — which under such conditions inevitably develops 
into contrariety of temper, — led to s. series of conflicts 
between themselves as well as with the authorities. There 
was no unity of principle among them in their attitude 
towards the prison rules. Whilst Sophia Bogomoletz, 
Maria Kovalevskaya, and Elena Rossikova regarded it as 
a part of their political programme, to which they con- 
scientiously adhered, that they should maintain a continual 
feud with the staff about any and every possible circum- 
stance, the others held that conflicts should not be need- 
lessly provoked. These differences of opinion caused 



frequent friction, and personal relations between the 
prisoners were occasionally somewhat strained. 

In the spring of 1887 Maria Kovalevskaya was brought 
from Irkutsk to Kara. She arrived just at a time when 
the disputes in the women's prison had become unbear- 
able ; and shortly afterwards Sophia Loschern von Herz- 
feld, Anna Korba, Anna Yakimova, and Paraskova 
Ivanovskaya petitioned the commandant to separate 
them from the others, their request being granted. At 
the same time, in consequence of some squabble with the 
staff, Sophia Bogomoletz and Elena Rossikova were re- 
moved to another prison ; there were, therefore, for some 
time only four women in the prison at Ust-Kara — 
Kovalskaya, Kovalevskaya, Kalyushnaya, and Smirnits- 

Early in 1888 the Governor-General, Baron Korf, came 
to visit the prisons of Kara. When he arrived with his 
suite at the women's prison Elizabeth Kovalskaya was 
sitting on a bench out in the open air, and as the Governor- 
General came up to her she remained quietly seated, 
vouchsafing him not a glance. He addressed her harshly, 
saying that in his presence she ought to stand up, that 
he was the highest official in the district. 

" I did not elect you to that position," replied Kovals- 
kaya calmly, and remained as before. 

The functionary was beside himself with rage, and 
informed the commandant that he would send written 
instructions how to deal with this refractory prisoner ; so 
shortly afterwards there came an order to send Kovals- 
kaya to the central prison in Verkhny-Udinsk, " because 
by her unruly behaviour she had a demoralising influence 
on the other prisoners in Ust-Kara." 

Kovalskaya's friends asserted that she had purposely 
provoked the conflict in order to effect her removal to 
another prison, so hateful had the sojourn in Kara become 
to her. The Governor-General's order would therefore 
have been most welcome to her ; but the stupid, 

272 THE WOMEN'S PRISON [chap. 

cowardly commandant Masyukov supposed otherwise, 
and took it into his head that she and her companions 
would offer resistance. He thereupon came to the idictic 
and inhuman decision that the delinquent should be con- 
veyed away secretly. Early one morning, while the 
prisoners still slept, gendarmes accompanied by ordinary 
convicts burst into her cell, seized on the sleeping 
Kovalskaya, and dragged her, clad only in her nightdress, 
to the office, where she was ordered to dress and make 
ready to start for her new place of confinement. Natur- 
ally the unfortunate lady screamed when aroused so 
rudely from her sleep, and the other prisoners waking 
up sprang from their beds and were witnesses of the 
inexplicable and insulting treatment to which their com- 
rade was subjected. They could imagine nothing else but 
that a common assault on her honour was meditated, and 
their fury against the commandant knew no bounds. 

For a long time only uncertain rumours about these 
events reached oar ears, for our secret post was not 
working regularly at the time. We were first supplied 
with exact tidings through Golubtsov, the sergeant of the 
guard, in a very unusual way. This honest fellow, 
Golubtsov, who could hardly read and write, was a very 
important personage in our prison. He was a remarkably 
sensible, clever, and tactful man ; his relations with the 
" politicals " during a long course of years and under 
different commandants had taught him a great deal, and 
he thoroughly understood our way of looking at things. 
He was thus enabled to avoid rubs and disputes, and we 
were always on the best of terms with him ; this strength- 
ened his position, and with his good sense and tact gave 
him the upper hand over the stupid and inexperienced 
Masyukov. The wise sergeant, in fact, was the presiding 
genius of the place, and ruled the commandant com- 

When the Governor-General's order arrived, and Masyu- 
kov in his foolish shortsightedness evolved his plan of 


carrying off Elizabeth Kovalskaya, Golubtsov warned him 
what would be the consequences ; but for once no heed 
was paid to his advice, and it was only when the women 
prisoners started a hunger-strike as a protest against their 
comrade's treatment that the commandant sought counsel 
from his subordinate. Golubtsov advised him to lay the 
matter before the " politicals " in the men's prison, and 
ask us to intervene. This was the more natural and 
reasonable, because one of our number, Kalyushny, had a 
wife and a sister among the strikers. He had been a 
student in the University of Kharkov, was an intelligent, 
high-spirited young man, a charming companion, and a 
great favourite among us. He was a Terrorist, had been 
sentenced in 1888 to fifteen years' " katorga," and with 
him his wife, Nadyeshda Smirnitskaya. Maria Kalyush- 
naya, my companion on the journey to Kara, was his 
sister, and both these ladies had witnessed the alarming 
scene which had led to the desperate protest they were 
now making. These facts suggested to the wise sergeant 
his plan, and he advised Masyukov to appoint Kalyushny 
as intermediary in the affair. Masyukov was sensible 
enough to agree ; he had Kalyushny brought to his 
house, and told him straightforwardly all that had taken 
place, ending with the information that Kalyushny's wife, 
his sister, and Maria Kovalevskaya, had been refusing 
food for several days. He then begged Kalyushny to go 
to Ust-Kara, pacify the women, and induce them to give 
up their hunger-strike, promising beforehand that he would 
do anything in reason to give them satisfaction. Kalyushny 
said to us afterwards that he was sure the unlucky com- 
mandant really regretted his conduct in the affair. 

Kalyushny told Masyukov he must consult his comrades 
before undertaking the mission, and asked that we might 
be allowed to take counsel together. This was agreed to, 
and we all met to consider and discuss the circumstances 
— a thing that had not been heard of in Kara since the 
prison had been put under the gendarmerie. The tidings 


274 THE WOMEN'S PRISON [chap, xxvi 

given us by the unhappy husband and brother regarding 
the hunger-strike of the women moved us deeply. When 
he ceased speaking a stillness as of death reigned over our 
gathering, and then the usually silent Yatzevitch began 
the debate. Without much discussion we decided that 
another delegate must accompany Kalyushny, and that 
they should try to prevail on the women to desist from 
their protest, assuring them that we should ourselves now 
take over the arrangement of the business with Masyukov. 
To the commandant we declared that he must apologise 
to the three ladies. 

It was arranged that our two delegates should be taken 
to the women's prison, fifteen versts (about ten miles) 
distant, accompanied by gendarmes, though all this was 
entirely against the regulations. 

When they returned from their mission, and we had 
assembled to hear the result, they told us that the famish- 
ing women absolutely refused to be contented with an 
apology from the commandant. They all three declared 
that they would only desist from their protest if Masyukov 
were withdrawn from Kara. 

The majority of us — myself among the number — saw at 
once that this was an impossible demand. The reactionary 
Government, with Count Dmitri Tolstoi at its head, would 
never recall the commandant, even if all the " politicals " 
in Siberia starved themselves to death ; but we thought 
we might perhaps find a way out of the difficulty if we 
could induce the commandant to ask of his own accord to 
be transferred elsewhere on some pretext or other. To 
this the commandant on his side, and the ladies on theirs, 
consented ; but the latter insisted positively that if Mas- 
yukov had not taken his departure within a certain fixed 
period of some months, they would again refuse food and 
persist in their protest to the bitter end. 

This, as might readily be foreseen, meant merely a post- 
ponement of the question. But I must return for the 
present to our own affairs in the men's prison. 



THE summer of 1888 brought troubles also to us in 
the men's prison, though they had nothing to do 
with the grievances of the women. 

Among the inmates of the " hospital " room was Vlasto- 
poulo, formerly an officer in the army, condemned in 1879 
to fifteen years' " katorga," this sentence having been 
subsequently increased to the life-term, in punishment for 
an attempt at escape. He was a man of many gifts and 
well equipped with varied information, firm in character, 
very proud and ambitious ; and he was held by us to be 
unalterably fixed in his terrorist principles. His comrades 
placed great confidence in him, and esteemed him highly, 
as they testified by twice electing him starosta. 

In the spring of this year (1888) Vlastopoulo's room- 
mates, of whom I was one, noticed that he was becoming 
short-tempered, peevish, and restless. About this time we 
were visited by an official of the Imperial Police Depart- 
ment — one Russinov by name, a privy councillor. Tours 
of inspection were often made by high officials from 
Petersburg, and had for their real object the inciting 
of political prisoners to " repentance," and the urging 
them to sue for pardon. These efforts were sometimes 
successful. Weak-minded people were occasionally found 
who would sing, " Pater, peccavi " ; but it is worthy of note 



that such instances never occurred among the women 
" politicals." 

On this occasion we were unaware that Councillor 
Russinov had made proposals of recantation to any re- 
pentant souls among us ; but one morning, shortly after 
his departure, Vlastopoulo left the prison in the company 
of gendarmes, handing to one of the comrades as he 
passed through the door a note, which when read aloud, 
left us all perfectly thunderstruck. Vlastopoulo informed 
us that he had lost all faith in the justice of the revo- 
lutionary struggle, and had therefore resolved to "cast 
himself at the foot of the throne," as he expressed it, i.e. 
to petition the Tsar for pardon. 

No previous occurrence of the kind had been at all like 
this, and the impression on us was overwhelming. Vlasto- 
poulo was, as I have said, a most prominent person in our 
ranks, and his example might well be followed by others, 
especially considering the frame of mind in which many 
of the prisoners were known to be. 

This was, as I have explained, a time of thorough-going 
reaction in Russia. Sufficient news penetrated the walls 
of our prison to convince us that there was at the moment 
no hope whatever of any definite immediate success in the 
revolutionary movement ; and the fact of this being so 
necessarily caused much brooding over gloomy and even 
desperate thoughts, to which in prison one is but too 
prone. If some among us were already troubled by 
feelings of disillusion and doubts of the validity of our 
ideal, a further piece of news which arrived at this junc- 
ture — totally unexpected and at first incredible — would 
naturally only serve to heighten dismay. The rumour 
reached us that Leo Tihomirov, one of the best-known 
leaders of the Narodnaia Vblya, had become a renegade. 
This man, whom chance alone had saved from death on 
the scaffold, had fled from Russia in 1882; and it proved 
to be true that in 1887 he had written the pamphlet, 
Why I Ceased to be a Revolutionist^ in which he forswore 

xxvii] RENEGADES 277 

his former convictions, and by which he gained the Tsar's 
pardon. He received permission to return to Russia, and 
henceforth devoted his pen to the service of the existing 
Government, of which he is to this day a supporter. 

This instance of apostasy — unique in the history of the 
Russian revolutionary movement — made the deepest im- 
pression throughout all Russia. "If such a man as 
Tihomlrov has become a monarchist, and acknowledges 
the absolute power of the Tsar, why then I, poor sinner, 
can be a revolutionist only through a misunderstanding," 
I heard one of the foremost among us say; and, in fact, 
he himself soon afterwards sent in a petition for pardon. 
Our worst fears were realised. Nine men in all followed 
the example of Vlastopoulo ; among the number Yemel- 
yanov, who had held a bomb in readiness to throw at 
Alexander II., and Posen, whose monarchist infatuation I 
have already mentioned. Of course, all this had a most 
overwhelming and depressing effect upon us. 

The authorities always took care that anyone who had 
petitioned for pardon should at once be removed from our 
midst and interned outside the prison until orders arrived 
from Petersburg. Naturally we ourselves instantly broke 
off all relations with such a person, which often occasioned 
very affecting scenes. The action of sending in a petition 
of the kind we termed "asking to be sent to the colony"; 
and to this day the word " colonist " has a sinister sound 
in Siberia, bearing the implication of " renegade." 

Meanwhile the fight in the women's prison was not at 
an end, but raged more fiercely than ever. Four other 
women who had been brought to Ust-Kara joined in the 
protest of Elizabeth Kovalskaya's three friends. The 
authorities did not seem inclined to move Masyukov ; and 
the truce having expired, the women resolved to carry out 
their threat, and again began a hunger-strike. When we 
learned this, we decided that we too must associate our- 
selves with them in their protest, and we refused to take 
food, declaring that we did so to show our solidarity with 


our women comrades, though in our own opinion the com- 
mandant's apology had been a sufficient atonement for his 

Our prison now presented an unwonted appearance ; all 
work was suspended, the chest that served as our larder 
remained closed, the kitchen stood empty, and about the 
yard wandered the prisoners, who for days ate nothing, 
but in whom no signs of yielding could be discerned ; it 
was easier for us to starve than to eat, while we knew that 
our women comrades were suffering the pangs of hunger. 

We made no announcement of our proceedings to the 
commandant, and he also preserved silence until the third 
day, when he sent for our stdrosta to know why we were 
on strike. When our reasons were given him he asked 
the stdrosta to inform us, as well as the women, that he 
really was soon to leave the place ; he had just sent in an 
application to be relieved of his post, and had received a 
favourable answer. In proof of this he showed a telegram 
relating to the matter. 

We succeeded in persuading the women to give in for 
the time and to take nourishment, they having now fasted 
for eight days ; but they would not entirely forego their 
protest against Masyukov, only modifying it so far as 
simply to " boycott ' : him. Ever since the abduction of 
Elizabeth Kovalskaya the commandant had been afraid of 
appearing in their sight ; but now they determined to 
break off even indirect communication with him. This 
decision cost them perhaps the heaviest sacrifice they 
could have made : it meant that they refused to accept 
their mails, which had always to pass through the hands 
of the commandant, so that they received neither money 
nor letters. Consequently they were forced to subsist on 
the prison rations alone, all communication with their 
friends was stopped, and all tidings of the outer world that 
they could have obtained from newspapers were lost to 
them. The natural result was that in a very short time 
the poor women began to suffer greatly, both physically 

xxvii] NAD^ESHDA SIGIDA 279 

and mentally, and that some of them were well-nigh driven 
to despair. The commandant was obliged to send back 
whence they came all letters addressed to the women 
prisoners. The alarm of their relations and friends at 
getting no news and receiving back their own letters un- 
opened may well be imagined ; and the knowledge of the 
suffering thus caused to their dear ones was an added 
misery for the captives. 

She who suffered most in this terrible ordeal was 
Nadyeshda Sigida, one of the latest arrivals in Ust-Kara. 
1 never knew her personally, but from all I heard of her 
from her friends she must have been a very sensitive 
young creature, gentle, affectionate, and attracted by all 
that is good and beautiful. She was deeply attached to 
her family, who lived in Taganrock, a small town in South 
Russia. Before her marriage she had been a teacher in a 
school, and her whole heart had been in her profession ; 
she had taken but little direct part in the revolutionary 
movement, and had been condemned to eight years' penal 
servitude because a secret printing-press and some bombs 
had been found in the house inhabited by herself and her 
husband. The latter had been condemned to death, the 
sentence being afterwards commuted to penal servitude 
for life, and he had died on his way to the island of 
Saghalien. Fate had dealt hardly with the poor woman : 
she herself had been unjustly sentenced, she had lost a 
beloved husband, and she had arrived at the Siberian 
prison at a juncture when she was obliged to take part — 
almost involuntarily — in the drama I am now describing. 
The stoppage of all communication with home must have 
been especially cruel to her ; her longing for her mother, 
brothers, and sisters made her nearly desperate, as she 
pictured their feelings on receiving back their unopened 
letters to her. 

There seemed no way out of this terrible impasse. A 
year had gone by since Kovalskaya's departure, and 
Masyukov was still commandant. The women, in a state 


of desperation, declared at last that they could bear the 
position of affairs no longer, and would put an end to it, 
cost what it might. They consulted together, and again 
resolved to fast, so they set up a hunger-strike for the 
third time. 

"Will it be any good?" Sigida asked herself. The 
authorities seemed determined not to yield ; the hunger- 
strike had led to nothing hitherto, and would probably 
once again prove a fruitless undertaking ; would it not be 
better that one victim should pay for all ? Better that one 
alone should suffer, than that all should sacrifice them- 
selves. Sigida resolved to save her companions. 

One day she told the gendarme on duty that she wished 
for an interview with the commandant, and asked to be 
taken to him. Masyukov saw nothing out of the way in 
this request, and ordered Sigida to be brought to his office. 

Some of us were witnesses that day of a strange scene, 
which could be followed by looking through the crevices 
in the stockade surrounding our yard. A carriage brought 
a young lady, attended by two gendarmes, to the com- 
mandant's house ; she entered, and shortly after the 
commandant, in a state of great excitement, jumped out 
of the window into the yard bareheaded, and ran away. 
The young lady soon appeared in front of the house, and 
spoke with evident earnestness and decision to the gen- 
darmes ; after which she began talking quietly with a 
warder's children, and caressing them. All this seemed 
most enigmatical ; we gathered little save that the young 
lady had insisted on having a telegram despatched. But 
the solution soon followed. We learned that when Sigida 
came face to face with the commandant she struck him a 
blow, saying, " That is for you as commandant ! " and our 
hero, despite the presence of the gendarmes, took to his 
heels and fled, leaping out of the window as we had seen. 
Sigida, afraid that Masyukov would try to hush up the 
affair, had thereupon demanded that the occurrence should 
be telegraphed at once to the proper authorities. She was 


counting on the usual procedure in such a case ; an officer 
receiving a personal injury from one of his charges being 
generally removed from the place where such a thing had 
happened, and the offender sentenced to death. Her cal- 
culations as to these probable results of her action proved 
false, however ; the poor lady had offered her sacrifice in 

I must here pause to speak of other events, which, 
though not directly bearing on these struggles at Kara, 
yet greatly influenced the minds of those concerned in 
them. The year of which I speak, 1889, will never be 
forgotten by those who were then in Siberia. The news of 
the sanguinary scenes that took place in Yakutsk was told 
to the whole civilised world, and everywhere aroused horror 
at the cruelty of the Tsar's Government ; yet probably 
but few of my readers will recollect the particulars. 

There were at that time interned in Yakutsk some young 
men and girls who were to be deported still further north- 
ward, "by administrative methods," to those wretched 
forlorn hamlets that figure on the map of Siberia as 
Verkhny-Kolymsk, Nijni-Kolymsk, Verchoyansk, and so 
on. Among these young people, who of course belonged 
to the student class, there were boys and girls under age, to 
whose charge even Russian law could lay no crime. 

The Vice-Governor, Ostashkin, who was then in command 
of the province of Yakutsk, had given orders that these 
exiles should be conveyed to their appointed destinations 
in a manner that would have rendered the hardships of the 
journey quite unnecessarily severe ; and when the young 
people learned this they made representations to the 
authorities, pointing out the danger that threatened them 
of perishing by cold and hunger on the way. They were 
told to come together to talk matters over, and they 
accordingly assembled in a dwelling-house to await the 
arrival of the chief of police ; instead of whom, however, 
came an order to betake themselves at once to the police 
office. They now felt convinced that they were to be 

282 FURTHER TROUBLE [chap, xxvii 

deported at once, without time for protest, and they refused 
to obey ; whereupon there arrived immediately a troop of 
soldiers commanded by an officer, and a frightful scene 
began that beggars all description. The soldiers clubbed 
the exiles with the butts of their rifles, stabbed at them 
with bayonets, and fired on the defenceless assembly. Six 
corpses were left on the spot, among them that of a 
pregnant woman, and many were severely wounded. The 
wounded and injured — numbering twenty-seven — were 
then thrust into prison ; and a court-martial was opened, 
wherein three persons were condemned to death and 
executed in Yakutsk, and nineteen were sentenced to 
penal servitude for life. That is briefly the history of the 
11 Massacre of Yakutsk." 1 

We in Kara received the news of these horrors just when 
our own situation was becoming critical. Sympathy with 
the innocent victims and anger against their oppressors 
were mingled with apprehensions for ourselves ; for we 
naturally thought, " If the Government can treat so bar- 
barously harmless people who are not convicts, what may 
be done to us, ' deprived ' as we are ' of all rights/ convicts 
in a prison whence tidings need never penetrate to the 
outer world ? " 

After events justified these fears. 

1 The Yakutsk massacre has lately (April, 1903) been recalled to public 
memory by the arrest of the Russian revolutionist, Michael Gotz, in Italy, and 
the attempt of the Russian Government — fortunately frustrated — to obtain 
his extradition. Gotz was one of the youthful exiles at Yakutsk, and was 
severely wounded, but survived to be court-martialled and condemned to 
penal servitude in the mines for life. He and his comrades were subsequently 
amnestied, chiefly in consequence of the notoriety given to the affair by an 
account of it published by the Times with indignant comments, which caused 
such feeling both at home and abroad that even the Russian Government was 
affected. — Trans. 



AMONG my recollections of the year 1889, one pleasant 
l\ memory remains to me — how we commemorated the 
hundredth anniversary of the storming of the Bastille. 
While the French nation, amid fervent rejoicings, cele- 
brated the centenary of their great Revolution, a handful of 
convicts, imprisoned by the Russian despot in a barren 
wilderness of the Far East, took their share in the festival. 
Ours was truly but a modest ceremonial — no banquet, no 
toasts, no speeches. Tea and a cake provided at the 
common expense were all that we could afford ; and our 
banqueting hall was the prison-yard, whither all the tables 
from our cells were carried for a public feast. There we 
sat, and thought of the great triumph of the Revolution, 
and of its heroes — the spiritual heroes of the civilised 

" Will the day ever come when the people will demolish 
our Bastilles — the Fortress of Peter and Paul, Schllissel- 
burg, the Citadel of Warsaw, and all the other gaols in 
which Tsarism imprisons its foes ? " we asked ourselves ; 
11 and will any of us be still alive then ? " 

" The battle for freedom will have been fought and won 
by the beginning of the twentieth century," our optimists 

"Who knows if it will ever take place?" said the sceptics, 



The subject was argued over and discussed up and 
down. Many who then were full of hope now rest in 
their graves ; others languish to this day in Siberian 

I return to the sorrowful events that were then happen- 
ing in Kara. After Sigida's assault upon the commandant 
the women began their hunger-strike, their third and most 
terrible. They adhered resolutely to their decision ; Mas- 
yukov must go, if it cost them their lives. For sixteen 
days they abstained from food. Sigida, it was asserted, 
remained fasting for twenty-two days, and when the prison 
doctor reported that he could not answer for her life, the 
Governor sent an order that she was to be fed artificially. 
Whether the doctor carried out that instruction I do not 
know. A rumour came to us during those dreadful days 
that he had had a scene with Maria Kovalevskaya : he 
went — it was said — into her cell one day, when she was 
lying on her bed, exhausted by hunger ; and she, supposing 
he had come to administer nourishment to her forcibly, 
struck him in the face. The doctor, a rather humane kind 
of man, seems to have looked on this simply as the act of 
an invalid not properly responsible for her actions ; he 
told her she was doing him an injustice, — that he was not 
going to touch her, — whereupon she begged his pardon. 
He said to his friends afterwards that he had never seen a 
woman with such strength of character, so spirited and 
eloquent as she. 

When it became evident that these women, who were 
already at death's door, would never give in, the higher 
authorities consented to the following compromise : 
Masyukov could not be removed, lest it should be said 
that the prisoners had forced such a step on them, but 
the Governor should arrange that Sigida, Kalyushnaya, 
Kovalevskaya, and Smirnitskaya should no longer be 
under the commandant, but should be removed to the 
female criminals' prison, and treated in future as ordinary 
convicts. Our comrades agreed to this, and ceased their 


hunger-strike. But the martyrdom of the unhappy women 
was not yet accomplished, worse sufferings still were in 
store for them. 

In the second half of October Masyukov, who had kept 
in the background since Sigida's encounter with him, 
entered our prison one day surrounded (as had never 
before been the case) by a guard of armed soldiers. The 
man looked thoroughly shaken and upset ; he sheltered 
himself behind the soldiers, and told us to come and 
listen to an order from the Governor-General. When 
we had all assembled in the corridor he read aloud with 
trembling voice a document saying that in consequence 
of the disturbances among the political prisoners in Kara 
the Governor-General warned us that on any repetition 
of such occurrences the most stringent measures would 
be taken against us, and that recourse would even be had 
to corporal punishment. 

Now the " politicals " had had much to bear, but had 
never been legally liable to personal chastisement ; the 
mere threat was held by many as an insult only to be 
wiped out with blood, and this view was voiced by Sergius 
Bobohov. I have not hitherto mentioned this excellent 
man ; for the part that he played, and that gives him a 
place in the annals of the Russian revolutionary move- 
ment, only began with this challenge from the Siberian 

Sergius Bobohov was born in the Volga district. He 
had studied in the Petersburg veterinary college, and had 
been expelled towards the end of the sixties for taking 
part in a riot of the students directed against Professor 
Zion, an affair that made a good deal of stir at the 
time. He was subsequently banished by " administrative 
methods" to the government of Archangel, and in 1878 
attempted unsuccessfully to escape. When he was re- 
captured he fired a revolver-shot in the air, hoping that 
this would cause him to be brought to trial, and that 
so he might have an opportunity of denouncing the arbi- 


trariness of the so-called "administrative methods." For 
this shot he was sentenced to twenty years' " katorga," 
and brought to Kara in 1879. 

During the nearly thirty years of my intercourse with 
Russian revolutionists I have met many remarkable men, 
but none that lived on a higher moral plane than Bobohov. 
Genuine sincerity, seriousness of purpose, and boundless 
devotion to his ideal were his leading characteristics. 
He was the most modest of men, but when the honour of 
a revolutionist was at stake, or if it were a question of 
duty, he would undergo a transformation and become 
a fiery and inspired prophet. There was never the 
slightest contradiction between his words and his deeds, 
he was the most logical and consistent of men, and it was 
no wonder if he won universal respect and esteem in 
Kara, even though everyone did not share his opinions. 

Bobohov was but a youth when I entered the prison, 
and the ideas that he had imbibed were the then pre- 
valent, rather anarchistical views of the Buntari, to which 
he remained faithful all his life. Imprisonment and exile 
are apt to exercise a conservative influence on the mind ; 
the opinions with which one enters prison tend to become 
stereotyped. Bobohov was well read, and interested him- 
self keenly in all questions of social politics ; but it 
happened with him as with many other intelligent men 
among us — he gathered from every book he read only 
what tended to strengthen anew the opinions he already 
held. He took great interest in the Social-Democratic 
theory, for instance, but his way of thinking prevented 
him from properly grasping its argument, and he was 
continually combating those who were attracted by it. 
He and I were never room-mates, but when walking in 
the yard I used to have endless discussions with him 
on this subject, and he always showed himself an ex- 
emplary debater, attentive, restrained, never ill-tempered 
or personal. 

Bobohov took the threat of flogging more keenly to 


heart than any of the others. His idea, which he at once 
did his best to promulgate, was that we should im- 
mediately send a telegram to the Minister of the Interior, 
declaring that if the threat of the Governor-General were 
not withdrawn we would all commit suicide ; and he 
further demanded of us that if the minister had not 
yielded within a certain time, we should each in our turn, 
to be decided by lot, take measures to put an end to our 

I had an opportunity one day of speaking to him about 
this proposal, and I tried to convince him of its imprac- 
ticability, especially arguing against his impossible notion 
of casting lots, which would make suicide cease to be a 
voluntary act, as those who had at first agreed might feel 
in honour bound to cast away their lives, even if when 
the time came they had changed their minds. Moreover, 
I reasoned, if we were to announce such an intention to the 
authorities, they would at once take steps to prevent its 
being carried out. 

Bobohov passionately disputed my arguments. " I cling 
to life as much as any other man," he said. " If I am 
ready to face death as a means of protest, it would only be 
if I could reckon on others to follow my example. Without 
casting lots — that is, without making it a duty — there 
would be no sense in the undertaking ; the others might 
draw back after I had taken my life, and my sacrifice 
would have been in vain, for the effect on the Government 
would be lacking." 

The impression I gathered from the whole of this con- 
versation with Bobohov was that life was really dear to 
him, and that he would not commit suicide, so that my 
worst fears were quieted. But his fate and that of some 
others of our comrades was already sealed. 

Rumours reached us directly after this that, by order 
of the Governor-General, Nadyeshda Sigida was to be 
subjected to corporal punishment for assaulting the com- 
mandant. We took this rumour as quite improbable. In 


all the history of our movement there had been no single 
instance of a woman being punished in such a manner ; 
and among the men even, Bogolyubov alone (sentenced to 
fifteen years' "katorga" on account of the demonstration 
in the Kazan Square of December, 1876) had suffered this 
indignity. And since, to avenge him, Vera Zassoulitch 
had fired at and wounded Trepov, and had been acquitted 
by a jury, in all the twelve years that had elapsed no 
attempt had ever again been made to inflict corporal 
chastisement on a political prisoner. Certainly it had been 
repeatedly threatened in cases of attempted escape ; but 
the threat had never been carried out, only lengthened 
terms of imprisonment imposed. It seemed therefore im- 
possible to believe that such treatment of a woman should 
be meditated. On the other hand, in view of the Yakutsk 
tragedy, the victims in which had been mere boys and 
girls, we could not but fear that the Government of the 
" peace-loving Tsar " would shrink from no barbarity. 

Terrible days followed for us, but our uncertainty was 
not of long duration. In the beginning of November we 
learned that the Governor-General's order had actually 
been executed. 

I find it hardly possible to describe our state of mind. 
It was not depression that we felt, but deep agitation 
and gloomy resolution. Externally we strove to preserve 
calm, lest the gendarmes should become suspicious. 

We soon heard that Sigida had died immediately after 
the infliction of the punishment. Some reports said that 
she had succumbed to a nervous seizure ; others that she 
had poisoned herself. And at the same time we were 
informed that Kovalevskaya, Kalyushnaya, and Smirnits- 
kaya had taken poison, and had died in the prison 

On hearing these tidings many of our number silently 
resolved, without any discussion or consultation, to follow 
the example of the women. They got poison from outside, 
and determined to take it after roll-call one evening. No 


one asked now who was going to join in the act, but each 
man who had made up his mind to it possessed himself 
of a portion of the opium that lay on the table in every 

Bobohov, during these days, had appeared calm, serious, 
and taciturn as ever, behaving as though nothing unusual 
lay before him. Kalyushny, too, seemed long ago to have 
taken an unalterable decision. This decision had brought 
them together, and the two were now close friends. 

Seventeen men — seventeen out of the nine-and-thirty 
that made up our number — had resolved to put an end to 
their lives. On the appointed day, after the evening 
rounds, singing was heard in the " Yakutsk room," where 
were Bobohov and Kalyushny and the greater number 
of the others who had also determined to die, though 
there were some in every room — two in ours. This singing 
was the signal to them all. Those who were to die then 
took leave of their comrades and swallowed the poison. 

Shortly after, they began to feel ill, with headache and 
great weariness, and they lay down on their beds to sleep, 
not expecting to wake again. 

I had taken no poison, but when this general suicide 
began it seemed as though it would be easier to kill 
oneself than to witness the deed. How strong and deep 
was the impression made on me may be gathered from 
the fact that late in the night I began to suffer from severe 
headache and general uneasiness, and the doctor said 
afterwards that I had exhibited all the symptoms of 

However, our comrades had not effected their purpose. 
The opium was bad — either old or adulterated — and was 
not deadly ; the unhappy men awoke next morning in 
great pain and distress. But the frustration of their 
design did not in most cases weaken their resolution. 
Three only abandoned the attempt ; the others deter- 
mined to take a more potent drug — morphia. 

Next evening the farewell scenes were repeated. The 

2 9 o THE END OF THE TRAGEDY [chap, xxviii 

nerves of the survivors were still further tortured ; our 
position was indeed cruel. The morphia also proved bad ; 
most of those who had swallowed it were very ill, but 
eventually recovered. Bobohov and Kalyushny, however, 
having each taken a treble dose, speedily became uncon- 
scious. In the night Bobohov awakened yet once again. 
He heard Kalyushny's throat rattle, and tried to rouse 
him, embracing him, covering his face with kisses. When 
he saw that his friend would never wake more, he seized a 
whole handful of opium, swallowed it, and lying down 
beside Kalyushny, closed his eyes for ever. 

When the inspector and the gendarmes made their 
rounds the next morning, they found the two insensible. 
The doctor was fetched, and pronounced that the death- 
agony had already begun ; Kalyushny expired that 
evening, Bobohov not until the following morning. The 
corpses were removed to the mortuary, and were sub- 
sequently buried side by side with those of the four dead 







t— I 



















THE suicide of our two comrades brought visits from 
various officials to the prison ; first came the Public 
Prosecutor, then the Colonel of Gendarmerie, finally the 
Governor of the district. We, however, absolutely declined 
to enter into conversation with them, not even answering 
direct questions ; and they left without eliciting a syllable 
from any of us. 

No special measures were taken ; everything remained 
as of old. Only we ourselves were as though transformed 
by the tragic events that had taken place ; a heavy weight 
seemed to oppress us, our songs were hushed, jesting was 
at an end, we had forgotten how to laugh ; games too 
were stopped, even chess found no devotee. Most of us 
still suffered acutely from shaken nerves. 

So passed the winter of 1 889-1 890. The silence of the 
higher authorities was a bad sign, and we felt certain that 
in one way or another reprisals would be taken for the 
past events in Kara. The order rendering us liable to the 
punishment of flogging still held good, spite of the six 
martyrs who had gone to their death. Some of our 
number were terribly agitated about this during the early 
part of the year, and again two of our comrades determined 
to take their own lives in order to demonstrate to the 
Government that the political prisoners had not abandoned 
their protest against the threat. But the rest of us 



persuaded them to forego their intention until the com- 
mandant (Masyukov still held this post) should have made 
some reply to our demands. This reply was to the effect 
that fresh orders had been received whereby corporal 
punishment for women was entirely done away with ; and 
men were only liable to it if they did not belong to the 
privileged classes, and had not been educated in a gym- 
nasium. The sacrifices had been in so far vain that the 
system remained ; but it could be reckoned on with 
comparative certainty that the authorities would not again 
resort to such measures. So far as we were concerned we 
were now aware that the rules for our treatment were<in 
any case about to be changed, and as a matter of fact this 
was soon the case. 

For some years a report had been current that a new 
prison was to be built at Akatoui — a place distant some 
three-hundred versts from Kara, — and that the Kara 
prisoners would all be transported thither. It was also 
rumoured that in this new prison a system was to be 
instituted such as had never hitherto obtained in Russia. 

Meanwhile our numbers had been gradually diminishing. 
A good many of my companions had in course of time 
been allowed to leave, and were living in the penal settle- 
ment ; and the number of those who had begged for 
pardon, and who in consequence had been liberated as 
" colonists," was not small. Among others my friend 
Jacob Stefanovitch should have been released in the spring 
of 1890, when his term in prison ended ; but he preferred 
to remain with us until the question of our removal to 
Akatoui was settled, and found various pretexts for getting 
his release deferred. 

During the last year we had had no new arrivals from 
Russia ; because since the end of the eighties the Govern- 
ment had brought no revolutionists to trial, so that no 
sentences of penal servitude had been passed. Instead, a 
system had been introduced of sending political offenders 
for many years of banishment to Siberia, or to the island 


of Saghalien, by " administrative methods." By the sum- 
mer of 1890 most of us who still remained in our prison 
were already formally entitled to leave for the penal 
settlement, and were only unjustly detained because the 
number of political settlers there was limited to fifteen. 
I myself should have obtained release in the course of that 
year, but I had never expected that this would really be. 
From my first arrival in Kara I had resigned myself to the 
thought of spending my entire term of punishment in the 
prison ; in my dreams of the future I never thought about 
the penal settlement, but only looked forward to the distant 
date when, at the expiration of my sentence, I should be 
allowed to live somewhere as a Siberian exile. 1 That life 
was depicted for me in anything but rosy colours by 
the letters of comrades ; neverthelesss I awaited with 
impatience the far-off day of release. Like the hero of 
Dostoievsky's Memoirs from the Dead-hotise, I often 
counted up how many years, months, weeks, hours, I had 
still to spend in prison. How wearily the time passed ! 
The fewer grew the remaining years, the slower went the 
days, and freedom seemed further off than ever. 

Prison life had affected me considerably in the course of 
time. My nerves were shattered, and I felt as though 
borne down by a heavy burden ; my brain worked with 
difficulty, and my general condition was one of apathy 
and lassitude. The future looked black to me ; I was sick 
of life. 

In August, 1890, reports assumed a more definite form, 
and we learned with certainty that we were shortly to be 

1 English readers might suppose that, on the expiration of their sentences, 
political convicts would be set free unconditionally. But this is not the case. 
According to the Russian Penal Code, Art. 25, "The results of the sentence 
to hard labour are : the abolition of all family and property rights ; and, at 
the expiration of the sentence, settlement in Siberia for life." In practice, 
however, "politicals' 7 (especially those having influential friends) are occa- 
sionally, after the lapse of years, allowed to return to European Russia. 
There they must live under police supervision ; and though they may choose 
their place of abode, it must be a town ; but not the capital nor any of the 
more important or manufacturing towns. — Trans. 


taken to Akatoui. This news excited us much, and plans 
for our arrangements in the new prison became the chief 
subject of conversation. It seemed incredible to us that 
the cruelty of the Government could go so far as to in- 
crease the hardships of prisoners who for the most part 
had already been ten years or more in captivity, and had 
suffered so much ; yet we heard that the regime at Akatoui 
was to be unusually severe. 

One day we learned that the Governor- General had come 
to Kara. We were ordered to assemble in the yard, and 
Baron Korf soon made his appearance, followed by a 
large suite, and guarded by gendarmes and soldiers. He 
informed us that an order had been sent from Petersburg 
for our removal to Akatoui. The regulations of the new 
prison provided that political convicts should henceforward 
be in exactly the same position as the ordinary criminals : 
we should share rooms with them, be fed in the same way. 
"In short," concluded the Governor- General, "in no 
respect will any difference be made between the two 
classes of prisoners, and these instructions will be carried 
out to the letter." 

The sentences flowed smoothly from his lips, yet Baron 
Korf did not look altogether pleased with his mission. 
Upon us his words had a crushing effect ; our fears were 
confirmed and worse, for no one had dreamt of our being 
placed on the footing of ordinary criminals. Above all, 
this meant that we should be liable to flogging, as they 

We stood for a time speechless ; partly because we were 
staggered by what we had heard, and partly because we 
had no desire to enter into conversation with the man who 
had degraded himself by ordering the corporal chastisement 
of a woman. To the repeated question whether we had 
anything to say, no answer was given ; but Baron Korf was 
apparently very anxious to get into discussion with us, and 
the situation became rather uncomfortable. At last, as the 
Governor-General was preparing to leave, Mirsky suddenly 


broke the silence. With formal politeness he inquired how 
the words " in every respect like the ordinary criminals " 
were to be construed, and laid stress on the fact that 
ordinary convicts were allowed to enter the penal settle- 
ment without any limitation of their numbers. Visibly 
gratified that at last he was addressed, Baron Korf hastened 
to explain that in this particular also there would hence- 
forward be no difference made between the two classes. 
An animated conversation now ensued between him and 
Mirsky, in which Yakubovitch soon joined. With excited 
gestures the latter began declaring that they might treat 
us in all other respects like criminals, but we would never 
endure it if one of us were flogged. 

The Governor-General attempted to restore peace : we 
ought not to be alarmed, he said ; none of us had hitherto 
been punished in that way, and he hoped it might never 
happen in the future. 

I had not intended to take part in the conversation, but 
when I heard those words, involuntarily I cried out, " And 
Sigida ? A woman ! " 

This was a subject full of the most ominous possibilities. 
Baron Korf began speaking eagerly ; he had apparently 
been waiting for the chance of such an allusion, and he 
seemed to feel a need of justifying himself. 

" What were we to do ? " he cried. " Must we be in- 
sulted, and keep silence ? It was not we who first resorted 
to personal violence." 

" You could have tried her," I answered ; " but you had 
no right to torture her." 

The Governor-General stammered out a few sentences, 
the drift of which was that past events were irretrievable, 
and that he could not be held responsible for what had 
occurred in Kara. 

It was a painful episode, and when Baron Korf had 
gone we returned to our cells in deep depression, feeling 
insulted and humiliated by the decision that we had just 


The day was to bring yet another excitement. The 
head warder, a certain Pohorukov, made the rounds as 
usual, accompanied by some gendarmes, and called the roll 
in the various rooms. I was in the corridor, meaning to 
go into my room along with the gendarmes ; and Fomit- 
chov also was in the corridor, standing by the door of his 
room. As one of the gendarmes was unlocking that door 
I suddenly saw something hurtle through the air, the 
sound of a frightful blow followed, and the head warder 
fell to the ground. The gendarmes instantly fled in panic, 
leaving the man lying unconscious on the floor ; but I ran 
after them, calling to them not to be frightened, that they 
must come and help their injured companion. It was, 
however, some time before they could be persuaded to 

I ought to mention here that Golubtsov, the clever and 
tactful captain of the guard, of whom I spoke before, no 
longer held that post. When our hunger-strikes began he 
got himself transferred to the section for ordinary criminals, 
for he saw that the dispute with Masyukov was certain 
to cause trouble. The new captain of the guard was a 
stupid, cowardly fellow. When he at last recovered from 
his fright I managed to induce him to unlock the door 
of the room where Prybylyev, our physician, was, and the 
latter then had the wounded man carried into our 
" hospital " room, where he administered first aid. The 
head warder had received a severe blow on the head from 
some hard object, he was still unconscious, and it was 
difficult to know at first whether the wound was dangerous 
or not. 

As the commandant was away in attendance on the 
Governor-General and would not return till next day, and 
as the head warder was hors de combat, we prisoners had 
to take command, the gendarmes, who had quite lost their 
heads, obeying our orders without hesitation. The first 
thing was to get the injured man conveyed to his own 
house, and Prybylyev had him carried thither on the bed 


as he was. Then something must be done with Fomitchov, 
who himself insisted on being removed from among us ; so 
we made the captain of the guard install him in one of the 
single cells in the adjacent building. 

Fomitchov's act seemed absolutely inexplicable, the head 
warder being a quite insignificant, ordinary kind of person, 
about whom we had never troubled ourselves ; and the 
only explanation that suggested itself to us was that, 
excited by the news we had just heard, Fomitchov must 
have suddenly lost his reason. For, being, as I have 
related, an eccentric devoted to monarchism, Fomitchov 
was the last person from whom such an attack on an 
official could have been expected, and the theory of mad- 
ness seemed the more likely, as he had on one or two 
former occasions shown a tendency to paroxysms of rage. 
We were mistaken, however ; next day he himself gave us 
the following elucidation of his motives. 

Some months before, when Fomitchov was in the prison 
hospital, where Pohorukov was then steward, he had been 
witness of a shocking scene. Some ordinary criminals 
had been cleaning out the yard, and the steward, declaring 
that the work had not been done thoroughly enough, 
at once ordered the men to be flogged. The punishment 
was instantly administered, right under the window of 
Fomitchov's cell. Indignation and disgust had naturally 
been kindled in Fomitchov's bosom, and abhorrence of the 
man who could perpetrate such a barbarity ; but it would 
hardly have occurred to him to attack Pohorukov without 
further cause. Now, however, when the Governor-General 
had just declared that we were to be put on an equal 
footing with the ordinary criminals as regards flogging, 
Fomitchov remembered how people could be subjected 
to that barbarous punishment by any stupid official for 
the merest trifle ; he wished, therefore, he said, to avenge 
the deed he had witnessed, and at the same time to show 
what would be our proceedings if anyone ever attempted 
to apply such treatment to us. 


Naturally we feared that the Governor-General might 
suppose Fomitchov's assault to have been an act resolved 
on by us all, and committed with our sanction, in which 
case reprisals could not fail to be made ; we lived, there- 
fore, for several days in a state of excited expectancy. 
The doctor, meanwhile, pronounced Fomitchov to be 
suffering from a passing disturbance of mind, caused by 
learning of the new decree ; fortunately, too, the injured 
man's wound proved not to be mortal, and he recovered, 
only losing the hearing of one ear. The Governor-General 
was, I suppose, relieved to find that no more serious 
consequences had followed his announcement of the new 
order, and that may have made him take a lenient view 
of the case. Fomitchov was eventually placed under 
observation in the prison hospital, and his term of im- 
prisonment was lengthened by two years as the penalty 
of his offence. 

From the statement made by the Governor-General in 
response to Mirsky, we might conclude that none of us 
who had become entitled to leave prison for the penal 
settlement (that is, not less than twenty men) would be 
taken to Akatoui, and that therefore we should escape 
the severe regime there ; but I personally could not 
believe that the hour of my release from prison was so 
near. My old experience at Freiburg had taught me 
how easily hopes may be falsified, and I repelled with 
energy every alluring vision, preferring rather to paint 
gloomy pictures of a future in prison among the criminal 
horde ; and although the news soon reached us that 
we were indeed to be liberated — that a list had already 
been prepared of those persons who were entitled to 
leave — I could not trust myself to credit it. One day, 
however, quite unexpectedly, three of our number were 
released from prison — Luri, Rechnyevsky, and Souhomlin, 
whose wives had followed them to Kara. Shortly after, 
Masyukov, accompanied by his newly appointed successor, 
Tominin, appeared one day in our prison, and informed 


us that seventeen others were to be liberated, my name 
figuring in the list. 1 

We packed up our belongings and took leave of our 
comrades, who were to go to Akatoui the next day; and 
the thought that our friends had before them such an 
increase of hardships damped our pleasure in attaining the 
long-desired semi-freedom. Beforehand we had pictured 
quite otherwise the joy of release and the scene of farewell. 
Now that the hour had struck it was hardly joy that I felt ; 
on the contrary, I seemed almost to be quitting a home 
that had become dear to me. Not with heads uplifted, 
but sad and depressed, we bent our steps towards the door. 
The bolt flew back, and a larger company of men than had 
ever been seen to do so before on such an occasion left 
the prison for good. A trammelled and partial liberty lay 
before us ; still, liberty it was. 

1 Among the others to be released with me were Martinovsky, Prybylyev, 
Mirsky, Starinkievitch, Zlatopolsky, Mihailov, Fomin, and Kohn ; all of 
whom have figured already in my narrative. Stefanovitch also was of the 
party, but was only destined to remain with us for two months, after which 
he was sent to be interned in Yakutsk. He has spent the thirteen years 
since we parted in various places of Siberian exile. 



NIZHNAYA-KARA, where the penal settlement 
was situated, had an appearance quite peculiar to 
itself. The dwelling-houses were at some minutes' distance 
from the prison, on a hill-slope descending to the banks of 
the River Kara, whose bed contains gold-dust and in 
summer becomes almost completely dry. The place had 
nothing of the Russian village about it, either in the style 
of its buildings or its inhabitants. The latter were mostly 
convicts, both men and women ; besides whom there were 
a few peasants, descendants of former convicts, or of the 
crown colonists who had been settled here as drudges in 
the gold-workings. Then there was an infantry battalion 
of Cossacks stationed here for the purpose of keeping 
guard over the prison ; and finally there were numerous 
prison officials and Cossack officers. 

The mixed nature of the population was evidenced by 
the variety of their dwellings. Ordinary criminals who 
were unmarried lived in barracks, where the Cossacks also 
were housed ; the officers and prison officials inhabited neat 
little houses belonging to the State ; and the " politicals " 
and married criminals lived in wretched tumbledown 
hovels. Besides the classes already enumerated, there 
were three tradesmen in Kara, each of whom kept a 
small general shop. 

At first we had great difficulty in finding accommoda- 
tion ; for of course it was not possible at once to run up 





















habitations for twenty men, all let out of prison at the 
same time, and we were obliged to put up with lodgings 
where a number of persons were crowded into each single 
room. In other ways too there was much inconvenience 
and discomfort during those early days of freedom ; but 
on the whole our change was distinctly for the better. 
Merely to have got rid of the detested turnkeys was a joy ; 
we rejoiced also at being free from the barbarous head- 
shaving, and we might once more wear our own clothes. 
We were permitted to take up some handicraft, but the 
exercise of the so-called "liberal professions" was forbidden 
us. The regulations as to our correspondence were also 
less severe ; we could write letters to our relations, and a 
number of newspapers that were prohibited in prison were 
allowed here. But above all, we might now go about 
freely at all hours, and wander in the neighbourhood of 
the village to our heart's content. 

On our exit from prison we were placed under the 
supervision of the staff controlling the ordinary convicts, 
and shortly after the gendarmerie disappeared from Kara 
for good. Every morning a prison inspector made the 
rounds of the settlement with his book, which we had 
to sign, so that the authorities might be satisfied that 
none of us were missing. We were not allowed to go 
beyond ten versts from the village without a special 
permission from the superintendent — that same Pohorukov 
whom Fomitchov had assailed. 

Our material condition was considerably more comfort- 
able now than it had been in prison. Besides the means 
of livelihood that had hitherto been available — rations 
from the State and money sent from home — many of us 
could now earn something by private exertion. We still 
preserved our organisation as when in prison, with certain 
modifications rendered necessary by our new circum- 
stances ; we still formed an artel and elected a starosta to 
arrange the details of our common life. Of course, our 
domestic economy had considerably extended its sphere ; 


we had now much to think of that had not entered into 
our consideration before. 

Autumn brought a good deal of heavy labour for all 
able-bodied men. Trees had to be felled and carted to 
serve as winter fuel, and then the wood had to be chopped 
small for use. In the winter the hay needed for our 
cattle had to be brought in, for we possessed six cows and 
four horses. In the spring we looked after our gardens, 
and in the summer we made hay in the meadows. 
Cooking was still managed in common, groups of us 
carrying it out in turn. There was always plenty for all 
hands to do, and the work was often very hard. I myself 
found the labour of the winter season extremely severe. 
It meant rising at three or four o'clock in the morning 
to harness the horses — a task difficult and disagreeable 
enough always in the Siberian cold, and a perfect misery 
in the small hours of the morning — and then driving 
the sledge ten or twelve versts, loading it with hay, and 
finishing our job so as to return home by nightfall. Two 
of us at a time had to load and fetch home four great 
waggon-loads of hay. Naturally we were very clumsy 
over the unaccustomed labour, and it happened often 
enough that ropes would break and the hay get scattered, 
or that the horses would stray away. In our heavy sheep- 
skins and felt boots we had each as much as we could 
manage in conducting two heavy waggons on the home- 
ward journey ; and despite the extreme cold we used 
often to be bathed in perspiration. 

Yet the hard physical work had a charm of its own. 
It gave one a quite peculiar sensation to be driving along 
in the dark over the smooth, white surface of the snow, on 
and on into the depths of the forest. The profoundest 
silence reigned everywhere, broken by the crackling of the 
snow under the horses' hoofs and the runners of the sledge, 
and sometimes by the distant howling of a wolf. Myriads 
of stars sparkled in the firmament, and not a trace of 
man's existence was anywhere to be seen. But the cruel 



























xxx] A HOME 303 

cold, increasing in severity towards dawn, would soon 
drive away all poetical ideas. The frost penetrated our 
sheepskins, and we felt as if we were being pricked all 
over our bodies with sharp needles. Often the brandy 
in our flasks would freeze, and although we took all 
possible precautions, the glass would split and the spirit be 
left in a frozen lump. 

These expeditions, fortunately, were not of very frequent 
occurrence, the turn of each man coming only about three 
or four times in the course of the winter. The fetching of 
wood, on the other hand, was continually necessary ; but 
although this, too, entailed considerable exertion, it was 
not nearly so serious an undertaking. 

After a spell of hard work it used to feel luxury indeed 
to be back in one's own house. The little peasant hut in 
which I dwelt seemed a perfect palace, and I thought it 
most comfortable ; though any spoilt child of civilisation 
would have seen much to be improved in it. Nearly a 
third of its space was taken up by a great Russian stove, 
which unfortunately often smoked ; doors and windows 
shut very imperfectly ; and in both floor and walls there 
were great cracks, through which the wind whistled ever- 
lastingly, despite my continual efforts to stop them up. 
But all these were petty details that could not detract 
from the charm of having a " home " of one's own. Only 
those who have themselves undergone the martyrdom 
of never being alone for an instant, and of feeling always 
conscious that the eyes of others are upon one's every 
action, can properly realise that charm. To have the 
enjoyment of that independent solitude it was worth while 
putting up with a number of small inconveniences that 
might to a certain extent have been avoided by a menage- 
a-denx. It was only an occasional pair of bosom friends 
who chose to live in that fashion. Most of us much 
preferred to undertake singly the duties of housekeeping 
— stoking the stove, carrying water, cleaning, etc. 

My hut, which, when I took possession of it, was in 


a state of extreme disrepair, was the property of the 
State. With my own hands I mended it up as well as 
I could. It stood a little apart from the other dwellings, 
at the end of the village, on the slope of a hill, and close 
to the little cemetery. At first I used to feel some 
anxiety over the insecurity of the door ; a push from 
without was sufficient to open it, and this was hardly 
agreeable when one knew that round about dwelt all sorts 
of criminals — some very queer customers among them. 
However, I soon found that I had no cause to fear any- 
thing from these people ; and when I returned home late 
at night by lonely ways and bypaths, I felt as safe as 
in the best-policed town. 

One of the most notorious criminals in the settlement 
was a man named Lissenko. It was reported of him that 
in one of his robberies he had killed a whole family — men, 
women, and children. He was about sixty when I first 
knew him, and still had the strength of a giant. He 
struck me as being crafty, cunning, and reckless, but not 
a malicious kind of fellow, and he was extremely pious 
withal. No one who knew him personally could easily 
believe him to have murdered innocent children. I was 
curious to learn from himself how much truth there was in 
the reports that were current concerning him, and I found 
an opportunity one day of questioning him on the subject. 

11 Yes, of course it's true," said he. " What about it ? " 

" But how could you have the heart to kill a child ? " a 
friend of mine asked him. 

" Oh, I cried all the time I was doing it, but still I killed 
them," was the answer. " It was just God's will. If He had 
not willed it I should not have been able to commit the 
murder ; I should have been struck down myself. So it 
was really God who made me do it." 

My friend (from whom Lissenko seemed to stand a 
good deal) then asked — 

" Well, and would you murder me, if you met me in a 
safe place ? " 

xxx] STOLEN GOLD 305 

"If I knew you had a lot of money about you I should 
certainly wring your neck," said the man, with cheerful 
frankness. " But there ! one doesn't kill without some 
good reason ! " 

Lissenko was at that time carrying on a very risky 
illegal trade : he was a receiver of " stolen gold," and 
smuggled spirits. I must explain that gold could be found 
in considerable quantities in the neighbourhood and worked 
with the greatest ease. Equipped with a shovel and a 
wooden vessel for washing, men and women repaired to 
the River Kara and other neighbouring streams, and could 
without difficulty get gold-dust to the value of one or two 
roubles in a single day. Though strictly prohibited by the 
Government, this private search for gold is practised 
almost openly. Those who do not themselves look for 
gold yet traffic in it ; and practically the entire population, 
except the political prisoners, is engaged in the illicit trade. 
Nobody — one or two really honest officials perhaps excepted 
— makes any scruple about infringing the law ; thousands 
make their livelihood in this way, and many even grow 
rich. I knew whole families, some members of which went 
off as regularly every day on the quest as though it were 
the most lawful affair in the world. No one— not even 
officials — found anything to protest against in this breaking 
of the law ; on the contrary, everyone in the place, except 
those few persons whose interests were concerned on the 
other side, looked upon it as quite natural that the gold- 
seekers should make the most of their labour, and take 
the treasure that the soil offered. No attention was paid to 
the arbitrary decree which declared that treasure to be the 
Tsar's private property — or, as it was officially expressed, 
" the property of His Majesty's Cabinet " ; and not- 
withstanding the heavy expense incurred by the respon- 
sible authorities to protect the gold-fields of the district, 
far more gold is obtained by unlawful than by lawful 
means. The receivers of the stolen treasure, and other 
middlemen, can always find a way to convey their mer- 


chandise over the border into China, where it fetches a 
far higher price than that given by " the Cabinet of His 

Meanwhile all authorities agree that the illicit gold- 
finders have conferred immeasurable benefit on the country. 
They are the true pioneers, who, wandering about the 
" Taiga " or virgin forests in all directions, seeking deposits 
of precious metals, are to be thanked for the discovery of 
numberless gold-fields — among them some of the most 
prolific of all. Certainly little enough profit falls to the 
share of the pirates themselves ; most of them remain 
poor and needy all their lives, hardly earning their daily- 
bread ; and many of them become slaves of the middle- 
men. It would take me too long to describe further the 
lives and doings of these gold pirates ; suffice it to say 
that they inhabit a curiously interesting little world of 
their own — a state within the state — with its own strictly 
administered laws and peculiar customs. 



TIME passed by much faster in the settlement than 
in the prison. Busy with the necessary work for 
establishing our little community, we scarcely noticed the 
passing of autumn and winter. I can never forget the 
spring of 1 89 1 — the first I enjoyed after the long years of 
imprisonment ; moreover, that spring brought quite un- 
expected hopes of favours soon to be granted us. A 
report reached us that the Tsar Alexander III. had 
decided to issue a manifesto to celebrate the treading of 
Siberian soil by the Heir-Apparent. This manifesto, it 
was said, would bring pardon to all convicts, and not even 
the " politicals " were to be excluded. The official tele- 
gram about this — obscurely worded though it was — could 
not fail to awaken in us hopes of at any rate increased 
liberty. If the news were correct, it was to be concluded 
that many of us would shortly be treated as " exiles," and 
no longer as convicts. This would improve our situation 
in a greater or lesser degree according to the locality 
whither we should be banished. " Politicals " are generally 
sent to the province of Yakutsk, where conditions of life 
are in many respects no better than in the settlement 
at Kara. It must be remembered that Yakutsk is a very 
sparsely populated province, and lies further from the 
civilised world than the Transbaikalian province in which 



Kara is situated. The climate is worse than that of Kara, 
the winter longer ; and in other ways, too, our comrades 
there were worse off than we. Their post arrived less 
often than ours, and in many parts of the Yakutsk govern- 
ment " luxuries," such as tea, sugar, and petroleum, are 
often not to be procured at all. Even stale black bread is 
sometimes a rarity, costing twelve to fifteen roubles the 
pood, 1 and is regarded as a delicacy only to be set before 
an honoured guest. The chief, if not the exclusive, food 
of the natives consists of fish and meat. The dwellings, 
too, are worse than the wooden huts of Kara, being simply 
"yurtas," i.e. tent-shaped hovels such as the natives live 
in, built of rough logs, the interstices between which are 
filled up with earth and turf. Yet most of us were ready 
to go to these inhospitable regions, for there was always 
the chance, when once one was numbered in the category 
of "exiles," that in time one might be sent to a more 
advantageous district. Above all, there was greater free- 
dom ; for though a place of residence is appointed for 
each exile, yet they may travel about in the surrounding 
country for considerable distances. There are more op- 
portunities, too, of seeing people ; new additions are always 
being made to the numbers of the " administrative " exiles 
in every province, and from them one learns what is going 
on at home ; while, on the other hand, nobody fresh was 
sent to the penal settlement at Kara during the whole 
time that I was there. Finally, the exiles in Yakutsk had 
the prospect of yet another step in advance — they might 
gain permission to enrol themselves in the peasant class, 
and in that w r ay win even greater facility of movement 
within the borders of Siberia. Things do not move very 
fast, and even if all goes well this favour may only be 
obtained after ten years' exile ; but one learns patience 
in Siberia, and many a one will let his thoughts dwell on 
that distant future : " Ten years ! then perhaps there will 

1 About %\d. to io£flf. the English pound, a pood being equal to 36*1127 lbs. 
avoirdupois, and a rouble to about 2s. id. — Trans. 














і— і 


xxxi] THE TSAR'S GRACE 309 

be a manifesto ; and in fifteen or twenty years may come 
the great event — return to one's home ! " 

I confess that I myself indulged in such hopes, though I 
knew but too well how deceptive these " favours " of the 
Tsar might be. To the Coronation manifesto there had 
been attached numberless limitations and exceptions, and 
it was not to be expected that this time the pardon of 
which we had been hearing rumours would be extended 
to everyone. " But who knows ? They have let me out 
of prison at last ; perhaps now I shall be made an exile, 
unlikely though it seems ! " Hope and fear alternated, 
and optimism gained the upper hand. 

While in the Petersburg government-offices the question 
had to be settled as to carrying out the proclamation — 
who was to benefit by it, and who must be excluded from 
its operation — the authorities in Siberia had another care 
upon them : how to avert all danger from the path of the 
Heir-Apparent, as he journeyed through a land where 
dwelt so many embittered victims of Tsarism. The 
gentlemen of the official world solved this problem event- 
ually in a simple fashion : all along the Prince's route we 
(busy with our hopes of freedom !) were to be locked up 
for the time being ; and though Kara was a good fifty 
versts distant from the high-road by which the journey 
of state was made, we were shut up in prison the day 
before the Cesarevitch 1 passed, and only set free again a 
day after he had got safely through our neighbourhood. 

For long afterwards we awaited with the greatest ex- 
citement the advent of the post every week or ten days, 
always hoping that some decision as to the scope of the 
manifesto would arrive. But government departments 
take their time ; those who amused themselves with 
thoughts of the Tsar's grace had still to endure un- 
certainty as best they could. A whole year elapsed before 
we received the long-expected news, and then it was dis- 

1 A familiar form of transliteration is employed here, but more correct 
would be Tsesarevitch. — Trans. 


appointing enough ; nearly half the inhabitants of the 
Kara penal settlement were excepted from the operation 
of the manifesto, the rest had but a very short curtailment 
of their sentences. I was among those who got nothing 
at all, and was obliged to reconcile myself to the thought 
of another four years in Kara. It was bitter to have one's 
hopes thus destroyed. 

It was the more bitter that our first joy over release from 
prison had soon worn off, and life in the settlement had 
now become almost as irksome as the life in prison had 
been. Our days seemed as monotonous and empty as 
ever ; and while in prison one had been constrained to 
accept the unalleviated barrenness of life, here in the 
settlement one felt the tug of the chain at every turn, and 
chafed at it. There we had known from the first that all 
reasonable and profitable activity was denied us, that we 
were condemned to an uninteresting and aimless existence ; 
and under such conditions one's mental alertness becomes 
dulled — almost atrophied. In the settlement, on the con- 
trary, it was quite otherwise ; here we were in the midst of 
life again, the state of lethargy that had reigned in the 
prison passed away ; and although the pulse of life could 
hardly be said to beat high, yet we could see people exert- 
ing themselves, undertaking enterprises, pursuing their 
various interests, fighting with difficulties and dangers. We 
ourselves the while were restricted to the work of our 
narrow household economy, work which naturally could 
not satisfy our aspirations. Most of us yearned to set our 
powers to work — to do something that should call forth all 
our energies and capabilities, not merely to chop wood and 
make hay. But in this forsaken spot, and hemmed in as 
we were by all manner of restrictions, we could find no 
congenial outlet for our activities. To all appearance we 
were now at liberty to undertake many things that had 
been forbidden in prison ; but this appearance was mainly 
illusory. It was just this contradiction between our ap- 
parent rights and our actual possibilities that galled us 
























xxxi] THE DAY'S WORK 311 

and weighed heavy on our spirits, making us sometimes 
inclined to think we would almost rather return to prison, 
if thereby we might escape from this torment of inactivity. 
We found it irksome in the extreme to have to take 
enormous pains and waste much time over mere trifles — 
the details of our primitive household management — which, 
under the difficult conditions of our life, made exorbitant 
demands upon us. Especially at first, when we were new 
to it all, it often happened that for weeks at a time one 
could never take up a book or a newspaper, and for 
educated, intellectual men that was naturally very weari- 
some. The only interesting mental occupation open to us 
was to observe the lives of the dwellers in this strange 
place ; as already mentioned, they were an oddly mixed 
lot, and we had plenty of opportunity for studying them. 

I have often been in the criminal prison of Kara, and 
witnessed there the life of the convicts in their cells and in 
the workshops, as they went about their various occupa- 
tions. The employment of convict labour in the gold- 
washing had been abandoned by that time, having been 
found too costly ; and the convicts were occupied with so- 
called "domestic work." Among other things they were 
used in transport, to take the place of beasts of burden ; 
and the spectacle of men — even of women — harnessed to 
heavy carts, and moving painfully along like oxen in a 
yoke, was altogether revolting. 

About a year after our establishment in the settle- 
ment, convict labour in Kara was entirely given up ; 
the convicts were taken away, some to serve in the 
construction of the Siberian railway, (then just begun,) 
some to the island of Saghalien or to other peniten- 
tiaries. With the convicts departed their guards, the 
Cossacks, and other officials ; our settlement was well-nigh 
depopulated, and life became more monotonous than ever. 
However, one advantage ensued for us : we could use the 
abandoned dwellings of the officials, and so lived more 
comfortably henceforward. We were on the best of terms 


with the few inhabitants who were left ; we taught their 
children, assisted them with our counsel when we could, 
and gave them medical and legal advice. To these people 
a " political " seemed a compendium of learning, and they 
applied to us on every kind of occasion. Now it was strictly 
forbidden us to engage in any work that could interfere 
with that of practitioners of the " liberal professions " ; by 
law we were not allowed to teach or to give medical 
aid ; yet, circumstanced as we were, the officials them- 
selves were not above calling for our help, notwithstanding 
the infringement of the law. Of course, therefore, they 
could not very well bring us to account for our dealings 
with civilians. Only on one occasion did this kind of 
thing lead to any unpleasantness, and I will briefly relate 
that occurrence. 

A peasant from a neighbouring village came and laid 
the following case before us. One day the newly appointed 
prlstav (commissioner of police) had appeared at his house 
with the starosta of the village and other officials, and 
without giving any reason had instituted a domiciliary 
search. In the larder they had found some poods of ship's 
biscuit, tea, tobacco, candles, and other stores, all of which 
the prlstav had confiscated out of hand, on the pretext 
that the peasant could only have such quantities of these 
things in his possession in order to exchange them for 
" pirated gold," and that he was therefore a convicted re- 
ceiver of stolen goods. Then when the peasant had at- 
tended at the house of the prlstav in compliance with the 
latter's orders, he was informed by the official that he must 
pay him fifty roubles before he could have his property 
back. This claim appeared to the peasant quite uncon- 
scionable, and on the advice of a neighbour he had come to 
beg me to draw up for him a petition against his extortion- 
ate oppressor. The peasant told me a long story : how he 
needed all the articles in question for his own consump- 
tion ; he procured them in winter, when the transport was 
easier, and used them in the summer for his workpeople, of 

xxxi] THE PRISTAV 313 

whom he employed a great number. This was evidently 
all humbug ; it was perfectly obvious that the good man 
was really a receiver of " stolen gold." On the other hand, 
it was as clear as daylight that the official had been guilty 
of an offence, having tried to use the peasant's infringement 
of the law as a means of extorting backsheesh for himself. 
I had already heard that this newly appointed satrap was 
grinding the faces of the whole population in this province 
— a district as large as many a German state, over which 
he was irresponsible master — and was diligently using his 
position to fill his own pockets. Nearly every night he 
paid surprise visits to the houses of the inhabitants, took 
possession of whatever fell into his hands, and then put it 
to ransom at a high price. At the same time he bullied 
the simple people in the good old fashion of official Russia, 
raging at them like a Berserker. His favourite speech was, 
"You fellows shall learn that I'm your Tsar and your 
God ! " 

The notion of teaching this functionary a lesson rather 
attracted me ; but I did not want to play the hedge-lawyer, 
so I advised the peasant to find someone else to undertake 
the affair, as I knew there were officials whose business it 
was to write out appeals and complaints. He told me 
that they had refused to help him, as they were afraid of 
the prlstav. So I finally decided there was nothing for it 
but to do as he asked ; and that I should not appear to be 
denouncing the man secretly I added at the end of the 
document (though I knew I had no legal right to draw up 
petitions for other people) — " Written and signed for the 
illiterate petitioner by the political exile Leo Deutsch." 
By signing my own name I meant to show that it was far 
from my desire to make anonymous denunciations ; and 
also I calculated that this circumstance would oblige the 
authorities to attend to the matter. The peasant was 
much pleased, thanked me warmly, and wanted to tip me 
a rouble for my trouble, which of course I declined. 

For several months nothing was heard of the business ; 


then one day the dessyatnik 1 came to me and called on 
me to go to the office, as the prlstav wished to speak to 
me. This order was quite irregular, as we " politicals " 
were only answerable to our own superintendent, not to 
the police. I therefore answered the dessyatnik very 
shortly — 

" Go and tell your prlstav that I am not at his beck and 
call, and that if he has anything to say he can come 
to me." 

I made the man repeat my words till he had them 
correctly, and impressed upon him that he must tell the 
official exactly what I had said, which he did most con- 
scientiously. The wrath of the " Tsar and God " may be 
imagined at receiving this answer in the presence of all the 
officials of the commune and a number of the peasantry. 
As I was subsequently informed, he stormed and raged 
like one possessed, and finally ordered that I should be put 
in irons and brought before him. Despite his categorical 
command the people hesitated to obey, and not till some 
hours later did the communal officers come to my house, 
and beg me, with all manner of apologies, to accompany 
them. I explained to them that the prlstav had no legal 
rights over me, and that it would be far more in order for 
him to communicate with me through the superintendent 
of the penal settlement. This contented the ambassadors, 
who returned and informed the prlstav that he had no 
jurisdiction over me. The day after I learned from our 
superintendent that all the prlstav had wanted was to tell 
me about a communication he had received in consequence 
of the complaint I had drawn up — a circumstance, there- 
fore, that had nothing whatever to do with me. The 
whole affair fizzled out in the end ; but when I left Kara 
some years later the peasant had not yet received back his 
goods, which still lay under the official seal in charge of 
the prlstav, and for aught I know they may lie there to 
this day. 

1 A village constable appointed by the inhabitants of the commune. — Trans. 













і— і 







xxxi] A WARNING 315 

For me personally the affair had no evil consequences. 
After the lapse of some months a document was sent me 
by the Governor, wherein I was warned that I was not 
permitted to draw up complaints for the inhabitants. Of 
course, if our relations with the peasant population had not 
been so cordial, the business might have led to trouble ; 
but as it was, the authorities did not care to risk causing 
an agitation among the peasants by harsh measures 
towards us. 




ЛО you know that the Tsar is very ill? They say 
1 J the doctors are doubtful of his recovery." A well- 
known official addressed me one day in these words. 

The unexpected news surprised me very much. It had 
been a general belief that Alexander III., of whose hercu- 
lean strength many stories were current, would attain a 
great age, and so be able to carry on his reactionary policy 
for many years to come ; and now suddenly there shone 
a ray of hope, for even in Russia it is usual to expect 
much of a new ruler. 

In November, 1894, came tidings of the Tsar's death; 
and soon afterwards two manifestoes were announced — one 
for the marriage of Nicholas II., and one for his corona- 
tion. This time I was not excluded. By the provisions 
of the first manifesto the entire term of my punishment 
was shortened by a third, i.e. by four years and some 
months ; but this " grace " came when I had altogether 
only ten more months of convict life before me ! By the 
second manifesto the time I had to wait before I could 
pass from the category of exile to that of simple peasant 
was altered from ten to four years. When I was told 
of the first manifesto I was also informed that I should 
have to go to Yakutsk as an exile : but eventually, in 
consequence of various circumstances, I did not avail 
myself of either proclamation. Private reasons occasioned 



my preferring to remain in Kara ; so I did not go into 
exile at all, but remained where I was as a convict, having 
obtained the Governor's permission to do so. 

One cold December day in 1896 I suddenly heard the 
sound of sleigh-bells, and a sledge stopped before my 
house. The door opened, and a man entered wrapped in 
sheepskin and doha} 

When he had emerged from his furs I recognised our 
starshina? an important functionary known and feared 
far and near. His wisdom and firmness had secured for 
this representative of the peasants' self-government an 
universal respect far above his social position. He was 
strong-minded and independent, and was said to be a very 
adroit and energetic man, but also hard, and morally not 
quite above reproach. He lived about thirty versts from 
my abode, and had only visited me on one former occasion. 
I therefore concluded that only some important reason 
could have induced him to come so far in the bitter cold. 
According to Siberian custom, he did not at once begin 
upon his business ; but after he had drunk some glasses 
of hot tea and eaten something, he laid the case before me 
as follows : — 

The Government had issued orders that a census of the 
whole population should be taken on an appointed day 
throughout the whole immense empire. For this purpose 
there would be required a large number of capable persons 
such as in Russia it was not very easy to find, and still less 
so in Siberia. The local authorities were hard put to it on 
this account, and the census superintendent of the district 
had consulted with his subordinates how to solve the 
problem. When affairs at Kara and the neighbouring 
villages came to be discussed, our starshina had declared 
that he would only undertake the business on one con- 

1 A kind of cloak with fur both inside and out. 

2 The elder or chief of the commune, as the starosta is of the village. — 


dition, namely, that I should help him. I was the only 
fit person ; without me the thing would be impossible. 
The census superintendent had nothing to say against my 
participation in the work, and even the prlstav (against 
whom I had drawn up the complaint) could make no 
objection, though he himself was to take an active part in 
the proceedings. He had, in fact, to superintend the 
taking of the census in his own district, and if I were 
to assist I should be directly responsible to him. 

The starshina explained all this to me, and asked 
if I would consent. I agreed immediately; for the work 
involved would be a welcome relief to the monotony 
of my life, and was for a useful end. One circumstance 
only made me a little anxious — association with the prlstav 
might be awkward. However, the starshina assured me 
that the man heartily regretted that old affair, would 
gladly have it forgotten, and bore me no grudge. One 
other obstacle — the difficulty of obtaining permission from 
the superintendent of the convict settlement — the star- 
shina himself undertook to remove. 

The business was soon arranged, and I — the " political 
criminal " — was suddenly clothed with official dignity. 
I was to take the census in a village about fifteen versts 
away, with a large population of about a thousand souls ; 
and I was then to enumerate the people of another village 
in conjunction with the pope. 1 

It was very interesting to look up these peculiar people 
in their own homes and to make personal acquaintance 
with them. Of course, there were many comical episodes 
and absurd misunderstandings ; and on the other hand, 
I had glimpses of very sad — even tragic — circumstances. 

My trouble was so far rewarded that the inhabitants 
expressed their gratitude to me in various ways, and the 
officials seemed to be impressed by my promptitude. 
I had accomplished my task some little time previously 
when one day in January, 1897, the starshina paid me 

1 The village priest. — Trans. 


another visit. The good man had again something to ask 
me, It was prescribed by the instructions that the head 
of every census-area should finally call together a certain 
number of the persons who had undertaken the work 
of enumeration in his district — one from each commune — 
to correct the results and draw up a general report. 

The head of our district was, as I have said, my old 
opponent the prlstav ; and I now learned that that gentle- 
man was particularly desirous to persuade me, through 
the mediation of the starshind, to represent our commune 
— the Shilkinskaya Voiost — at the committee of census- 
takers for his district. 

The proposal had much to attract me. For more than 
eleven years I had never left Kara, and I knew only the 
adjacent villages. Now I was offered the chance of travel- 
ling a distance of some hundreds of versts, and that in a 
province which, as I was aware, contained much that was 
of great interest. The work of drawing up the general 
report likewise interested me. The only objection was 
association with a man I had come against in such an 
unpleasant way ; but the eloquence of the starshina again 
prevailed over my doubts, and I agreed to undertake the 
task. Permission for me to leave my place of internment 
was at once given, and I set off on my journey. 

Of course I travelled at the State's expense. I received 
a pass from the Governor, which entitled me to requisition 
horses for my use wherever I went, and to lodge in the 
zemskaya kvartira, or official residences; 1 in short, I was 
for the time being an official travelling on Government 

A journey of the kind in a Siberian winter is no trifling 
matter. I was clad in furs, a doha over all the rest, and so 
wrapped up in a fur rug that I could hardly move in the 

1 In every Siberian village a house is kept up by the inhabitants, at local 
expense, for the accommodation of any officials who may be passing through. 
Zemskaya kvartira literally means "provincial quarters," or "communal 
quarters. " — Trans. 


sledge. The road ran for the most of the way through a 
practically uninhabited part of the province, a hilly, thickly 
wooded country, and the horses had hard work to get the 
sledge along. Every thirty or forty versts we came to a 
halting-station, where the horses were changed. When I 
arrived everyone was always most subservient and polite, 
giving me such a reception as befitted a very important 
official, which was sometimes extremely funny. At the 
first station where I was to spend the night, the elder of 
the village displayed a perfect fever of official zeal. I 
arrived late in the evening, and had at once sought my 
bed, when the man came to me, much disturbed. 
" Has your Excellency any orders for me ? H 
I begged him to see that horses were ready for my start 
next morning ; but that did not seem to satisfy him. He 
said that my gracious commands should be obeyed, and 
still insisted on decorating me with a title. When I ex- 
plained to him who I really was, he admitted " certainly 
that was another thing " ; but orders he was determined to 
have, notwithstanding, and asked if he should not fetch 
the census-takers of the village to wait on me. I naturally 
did not wish to disturb them in the middle of the night, 
which he could not understand at all. The people of other 
villages also astonished me by the fervour of their atten- 
tions ; and I could not quite comprehend it, until I learned 
that our masterful prlstav had travelled by the same route 
a few days before, and had spurred up his subordinates 
with injunctions to receive the "Censor of Shilkinskaya" 
(as I was entitled) with all honour, and to fulfil his orders 
most carefully. 

As I approached the goal of my journey I met at the 
stations other census-takers, also on their way to the con- 
ference. Among these people a rumour was current that 
the head of our district had found the lists submitted to 
him unsatisfactory, and that the whole business would have 
to be done over again. Of course my colleagues were 
rather troubled over this, for such an undertaking might 


easily cost them several days' work, and they had left 
pressing affairs behind them. Besides, the census-takers 
received but very scanty remuneration for their exertions 
— a few roubles only ; or, if they preferred it, a medal 
which the Government had had struck for the purpose. 

After two days I arrived at the Stanitsa Aigunskaya, 
where the conference was to be held. I had been wonder- 
ing all this while how my meeting with the prhtav would 
go off, and he, too, seemed to have had the same anxiety ; 
for I had scarcely awakened next morning when a Cossack 
came to the zhnskaya kvdrtira, where I and the other 
census-takers had slept, and announced that the prhtav 
wished to speak to the Censor of Shilkinskaya. I told 
the man to say I would come as soon as I could, made a 
leisurely toilet, and had my breakfast. But in a short time 
appeared a fat man of about fifty, in the uniform of a 
police official, who introduced himself as " Head -of- the - 
census-district-of-so-and-so Bibikov " — my prhtav, in fact. 
I on my side announced myself as "Census-taker Deutsch," 
and we chatted together most peaceably, as if we had 
never fallen out in our lives. The tormented man at once 
poured out his troubles to me. He could not manage his 
task at all, and confessed that he could not make head or 
tail of the divers instructions, orders, and circulars of the 
various authorities ; neither did he know how to proceed 
with the examination of lists and drawing up of the report 
for his district. And then there were thirty census-takers 
worrying him, some of whom had come a whole week's 
journey from their homes ; naturally they wanted to get 
back, and they were pressing him to release them, but he 
could not accede to their wishes, as all the lists seemed to 
him inadequate. His moving tale ended with a petition 
that I would stand by him ; he knew how well I had 
managed things in my division, and I was the only man 
who could help him to bring this difficult task to a satis- 
factory conclusion. Several of the other census-takers, 
too, urged me to take the thing in hand ; and as I was 




interested to see how the work had been started from the 
beginning, and what a superintendent like the prhtav was 
expected to do, after some hesitation I consented, for 
which my quondam enemy thanked me effusively. 

When we entered the official building the office was full 
of people. These were the census-takers, among whom 
were all kinds of persons — clerks, medical men, school- 
masters, and a great many Cossacks. Directly they saw 
the prhtav they crowded round him, begging him to try 
and finish up with them. 

"Just look at them!" said the prhtav ; "that's how it 
goes on every day. It's enough to drive one mad ! M 

I made them give me the papers, and tried to master 
their contents. As I had already guessed, the business 
was not really so difficult and puzzling as it had appeared 
to the poor police official ; but it was work that did not 
come within his scope, and he had no notion how to tackle 
it. At the end of a few hours I had things in train, and 
could show him what he had to do. 

The presence of the census-takers proved to be un- 
necessary, and they were able to go home next day, for 
which they were extremely grateful ; but I myself had 
to remain a whole fortnight in the place. There was in 
fact a great deal of writing to do, and the prhtav and I 
were hard at it from morning to night. He was always 
politeness itself to me, and no one who witnessed his 
charming behaviour now could have believed that he had 
once given orders to put me in irons. But of course that 
episode was never alluded to. 



DURING my sojourn in Kara I took part in an ex- 
pedition, the object of which was to discover the 
whereabouts of a curious relic of ancient times. One of 
our comrades, Kuznetsov by name, who by reason of his 
archaeological researches was rather a noted personality in 
Siberia, had written to me on this subject. According 
to the testimony of various people, there was in the neigh- 
bourhood of Kara a monumental stone covered with 
ancient characters inscribed in some red colouring matter. 
This had been mentioned long before in the proceedings 
of the Geographical Society of Irkutsk, but had never 
been described in detail ; and Kuznetsov — who himself 
lived at a considerable distance from Kara — was anxious 
that I should search for it and copy the inscription. 

I gladly undertook the mission, and early one spring 
day I set out on the quest, accompanied by two friends, 
following the meagre clue we had been able to obtain. 
We only knew in a general way the direction and distance 
of our object, which was supposed to be near the banks of 
the River Bitshoug, about thirty-five versts away. There 
was no road, and we were obliged to go on foot across 
a very boggy bit of country, leading the horse which 
carried our provisions and other necessaries. 



We started at dawn, reached the river towards evening, 
and there camped out for the night. During the next 
few days we explored the locality, but in vain, and we 
were at last obliged to return from our fruitless errand. I 
then made further inquiries about the stone among the 
inhabitants of the place, many of whom were hunters, and 
therefore well acquainted with the surrounding country, 
and I promised a reward to anyone who could guide me 
to it ; but it was not until nearly two years later that 
I heard a report of how two peasants from a neighbouring 
village had seen something of the kind. This rumour 
proved correct ; and a gold-digger of my acquaintance 
undertook to guide me to the object of my search, making 
the expedition by sledge, as it was then winter. 

The monument with the red inscription turned out to 
be not far from the spot where I and my friends had 
previously looked for it, but the dense forest undergrowth 
had hidden it from us. It dates undoubtedly from a very 
early period, and consists of a smooth perpendicular 
surface hewn in the rock, whereon curious signs and 
characters are drawn. 

We made a careful sketch of the monument, and a 
photographer who happened to visit Kara subsequently 
took separate photographs of the whole stone and of the 
coloured characters. These I sent to Kuznetsov, with a 
detailed description, but I have never heard whether the 
meaning of the inscription has been deciphered. 

When, in consequence of the imperial manifesto, I 
passed from the category of convict into that of exile, the 
change only affected my circumstances in that it deprived me 
of the right to an allowance from the State. Henceforward 
I was thrown entirely on my own resources, and the task 
of supporting myself was no light one. The population of 
Kara diminished steadily, and among others the family 
whose children I had taught for several years removed from 
the place. It was absolutely impossible to find any other 





















хххш] I LEAVE KARA 325 

remunerative occupation ; my relations at home were 
sending me no money, and my affairs got into a very 
unsatisfactory state. I had a host of debts, and could 
expect assistance from no one. 

Just then began the work in connection with the con- 
struction of the railway in the Stanitsa of Stretyensk, 
some hundred versts distant from Kara. I decided to 
migrate thither; and, the Governor having given me the 
necessary permission, I left Kara on the 20th of May, 

The Stanitsa of Stretyensk, situated on the banks of the 
large and navigable River Shilka, was at that time the 
scene of much activity. The population had increased to 
between four and five thousand ; there were some good 
shops and several business firms. The ordinary inhabitants, 
besides the Cossacks, were chiefly Jews ; but the railway 
works had brought all kinds of people to the place — 
officials, clerks, contractors, etc. — so that Stretyensk had 
taken on more the appearance of a thriving town than 
of a mere Cossack village. 

I soon found a post, and a comparatively good one, 
on the railway ; my duties being to draw up the various 
orders, advices, and circulars, and to copy them out. But 
the yearning for a fuller life possessed me here even more 
than at Kara, partly induced by the more bustling life 
of the busy little place, partly by the total absence of any 
congenial society. In Kara I had had comrades with 
whom I could converse on every kind of topic ; but in 
Stretyensk, though I knew nearly everybody at least by 
name, there was no single person to whom I could talk 
about anything beyond the most everyday matters. The 
principal, and almost the only, subject of conversation was 
money. The flow of capital into the country on account 
of the new railway had aroused in the inhabitants an 
almost incredible greed and a feverish desire of becoming 
rich. There were numbers of people who recoiled at 
nothing in the pursuit of this aim — cheating, dishonesty, 


even downright theft, were all in the order of the day ; 
and the irresponsibility and arbitrariness of officials which 
prevails throughout Russia, and especially in Siberia, 
greatly assisted in undermining the morals of the population. 
Many large fortunes were made in an extraordinarily 
short time. 

The only relaxations from this constant working and 
striving after riches were drinking and card-playing. Not 
only was there no library in the Stanitsa, but there was 
not even a school for the children of those who were not 
Cossacks, i.e. a greater part of the inhabitants. When I of 
necessity entered into the society of the place I felt myself 
in a world entirely strange to me, and utterly uncongenial. 
It was hardly possible for any, even intelligent, young 
man to escape being driven to drinking or gambling in 
such an atmosphere. 

It is true that here I had the advantage of more freedom 
of movement than in Kara, and that I could go further 
afield. During the two years of my stay in Stretyensk I 
frequently made long excursions in different directions ; 
and on these expeditions I became more closely acquainted 
with local conditions, and learned to understand the life 
of Siberia much better than would be possible from any 
amount of mere reading up the subject. 

In the spring of 1899, while travelling, I met with a 
comrade of my own way of thinking, who had been exiled 
by " administrative methods." It was the first time I had 
met a Social Democrat newly come from Russia, and my 
delight may be easily imagined. We talked nearly all 
through the night, and I learned for the first time from 
him how great had been the expansion of our movement 
among the working classes during the last ten years, and 
how quickly the idea of Social Democracy had taken root 
in Russia. I was especially impressed by his account of 
its development among the Jewish workers in the western 

Under the influence of the feelings aroused by this 

xxxiii] NEW WORK 327 

intelligence, my longing to return home sprang up with 
redoubled strength. This thought had been kept in the 
background during the last few years ; but now it forced 
itself upon me with urgent insistence. What were the 
possibilities of the case ? This question was hard to answer 
with any certainty. I had now been fourteen years in 
Siberia, and it was fifteen years since my arrest in 
Freiburg ; in accordance with the terms of the last 
imperial manifesto, by which I was to benefit, I might go 
home after another seven years, 1 and this term might 
conceivably be further shortened by some fortunate con- 
catenation of circumstances. Once more to see European 
Russia, where I had not been as a free man for twenty 
years, was the most fervent wish of my heart ; yet what 
warrant had I for supposing I should be still alive in 
another seven years ? or that, being alive, I should actually 
be granted the privilege of returning to Russia ? Life in 
Siberia became each year more irksome to me. I found 
it well-nigh impossible to remain in Stretyensk, and I 
determined to go further east, to the comparatively large 
town of Blagovestshensk. After exerting myself for some 
time to obtain permission to do this, I at last succeeded, 
and in the autumn of 1899 I quitted Stretyensk. 

I found myself much better off at Blagovestshensk ; I 
soon got employment on one of the two local newspapers, 
and the work was far more interesting than that to which 
I had hitherto been condemned. The society here, also, 
was much more agreeable, for the town contained many 
cultivated people, and also several comrades in our move- 
ment, political exiles like myself. The town possessed 
schools, a public library, a theatre, a telephone service — in 
short, so far as outward civilisation went, Blagovestshensk 
stood in no way behind European towns of the same size, 
and was even in some ways more advanced. During the 
last few years the place has attained an unenviable 
notoriety from the occurrences there at the time of the 

1 See note, p. 293. — Trans. 


war with China in 1900. I thus became an involuntary- 
witness of that terrible series of events of which the 
Russian Government gave such a lying version to the 
world. In the interests of truth 1 will here relate the 
particulars from my own experience as an eye-witness of 
much that occurred. 1 

First of all let me give some details about Blagovest- 
shensk. It is the chief, and was formerly the only town in 
the Amur province, which covers a considerably larger 
area than many a European state. Blagovestshensk is 
situated on the flat left bank of the Amur river, which for 
a long distance forms the boundary between Russia and 
China ; before the war it contained 38,000 inhabitants. 
Most of the houses are of wood, and there are no 

On the right bank of the river, exactly opposite the 
town, was the Chinese village of Saghalien. 2 There was 
constant intercourse between the dwellers on either bank, 
carried on in summer by means of boats and junks, in 
winter over the ice ; for the Chinese and Manchurians 
were the chief purveyors of supplies to the inhabitants of 
Blagovestshensk, especially of meat and vegetables. Until 
the spring of 1900 relations between the two settlements 
had been uniformly peaceful ; but after the murder in 
Pekin of the German ambassador, von Ketteler, and the 
decision of the Russian Government, on January 24th, to 
mobilise the Siberian army, constraint and tension began 
to make themselves felt. On the Chinese side of the river 
military exercises took place every evening; the beating of 
the tattoo sounded, and the firing of cannon was heard, 
which had never been known to happen before. To the 
inquiries of the Russian authorities as to the meaning of 
all this, the Chinese answered that a small detachment of 

1 The remainder of this chapter appeared, with a few further details, in 
Die Neue Zeit, February, 1902. Extracts from the article were quoted at the 
time in many Continental and some English journals. — Trans. 

' Not to be confused with the island of Saghalien. — Trans. 


soldiers had been quartered there for the summer. This 
reply entirely satisfied the administrators of Blagovest- 
shensk, but not the inhabitants ; many of them opined 
that the Chinese were not having gun-practice for nothing, 
and telescopes further showed that earthworks were being 
constructed in the neighbourhood of Saghalien. The 
representations of people who had observed this only 
elicited from the Russian military governor of the Amur 
province — General N. R. Gribsky — the assurance that 
these were trifles, and need disquiet no one. 

Meanwhile there were but few soldiers in Blagovest- 
shensk — two or three regiments of infantry, a regiment of 
Cossacks, and a brigade of artillery — and by order of 
the Governor-General Grodekov even these were almost 
all withdrawn on July nth and sent down the Amur 
to Habarovsk, while only one company of soldiers, a 
hundred Cossacks, and two guns (one of which proved later 
to be totally useless) were left behind in the town. Besides 
these there were about two thousand reservists, who had 
been called out in accordance with the mobilisation order ; 
but in view of the entire lack of arms and ammunition, 
these reservists were of little use, and certainly could not 
count as any efficient protection to the town. 

The departure of the military, for which many steamers 
and barges were needed, took place with much ceremony, 
and was watched by an immense crowd of people. This 
could not fail to be observed by the Chinese inhabitants 
of Saghalien, who were thus made aware that the Russian 
town was left almost defenceless. 

Further down the river, about thirty versts from Blago- 
vestshensk, is the little Chinese town of Aigun. When 
the Russian soldiery came to this place on July 12th, the 
Chinese allowed the boats to pass without hindrance until 
all but the last steamer had gone by, and then opened fire 
upon this last boat, which contained the ammunition, 
forcing it to return to Blagovestshensk. The news of this 
attack spread through the town on the evening of the next 


day, and aroused great uneasiness among the inhabitants, 
even the administration at last becoming alarmed. By 
order of General Gribsky, the military governor, a meeting 
of the Town Council was called for the morning of the 
14th, and this conference was attended, not only by all 
the town councillors, but by many of the more important 
residents, by various officials, directors of the bank, etc., 
and I myself was present as the correspondent of a local 

Colonel Orfenov spoke in the name of the military 
governor ; and after he had explained to the assembly how 
scanty were the means of defence available to the military 
authorities, he proposed that he himself should undertake 
the organisation of affairs. Though it had been known that 
after the departure of the troops there could not be many 
soldiers left in the town, nobody had supposed that their 
number was as small as now appeared from Colonel 
Orfenov's account. His frank statement made a great 
impression on his audience, and alarmed them considerably. 
Many turned pale or showed other signs of emotion, and 
the voices of the councillors, whose speeches followed, 
trembled with excitement. After a short discussion it was 
decided to call for volunteers. The town was at once 
divided into military districts, and a chief with two assis- 
tants appointed for each. Thereupon some members of 
the Council repaired to the military governor to inform 
him of their decision and to consult with him upon the 

As I was afterwards informed by one of those who 
spoke then with General Gribsky, he thanked the town's 
representatives for their readiness to undertake the duties 
of defence, and tried to quiet their apprehensions of danger 
from the Chinese. When asked if he did not think it 
necessary to take steps with regard to those Chinese who 
dwelt in great numbers in Blagovestshensk itself and its 
neighbourhood, he declared that in his opinion any such 
special measures would be unnecessary and inadvisable, as 

xxxiii] THE BOMBARDMENT 331 

war had not been declared between Russia and China. 
The General further informed the deputation that he had 
already been approached by representatives of the Chinese 
in the town, with the question whether it would not be 
better for Chinese subjects to withdraw betimes from 
Russian territory. Whereupon (and this was his own 
account of the matter) he had told the delegates to inform 
their compatriots that they might remain where they were 
without anxiety, as they were on the soil of the great 
Russian Empire, whose Government would never allow 
peaceful foreigners to be molested. Finally, the governor 
stated to our representatives that he himself, with the 
remaining detachment of soldiers and the hundred Cos- 
sacks, would go on the following day to Aigun, in order 
to free that place from the Boxers, to occupy it, and so to 
ensure free passage on the Amur for Russian vessels. 
This latter plan, however, was never carried out ; for the 
active hostility of the Chinese towards the people of 
Blagovestshensk manifested itself earlier than anyone had 

On that very same afternoon, when a great number 
of people of all classes had assembled at the municipal 
buildings to enrol themselves as volunteers, the noise 
of gunshots suddenly resounded from the Chinese shore ; 
and from the windows of the town -hall, where I was 
myself, we saw people hurrying in crowds from the shore, 
crying, " The Chinese are firing ! the Chinese are attacking 

The volunteers in the town -hall believed, when they 
heard these cries, that the Chinese were attacking the 
utterly defenceless town, and an indescribable panic en- 
sued ; some rushed into the street, others hurried to the 
armoury of the hall (where, as everyone knew, some 
hundred old guns were stored), crying, " Arms ! give us 
arms ! " The number of these weapons was of course 
insufficient to arm all the volunteers, and many, chiefly 
the poorer people, then rushed to the shops — which, as it 


was Sunday, were closed — broke in, and possessed them- 
selves by force of any weapons they could lay their hands 
on. The entire community was overcome with terror. 
Numbers of the inhabitants packed up their valuables and 
fled from the town on foot or on horseback ; or took refuge 
with friends who lived at a greater distance from the river 
and in stone houses, which could afford better protection 
from shot or shell. The idea that the Chinese might 
crowd into the defenceless town, set it on fire, and practise 
all manner of horrible cruelties on the inhabitants, drove 
many people into a state of positive desperation. 

It would in truth have cost a disciplined army of small 
proportions but little trouble to destroy Blagovestshensk 
in a few hours, but luckily for its citizens the Chinese were 
very bad marksmen ; most of their shells never reached 
the town, but fell into the Amur, or else they failed 
to explode. Thanks to this there were only between fifteen 
and twenty of the townspeople killed and wounded during 
the whole bombardment. 

On the second day of the siege Blagovestshensk pre- 
sented a forlorn appearance — shops closed ; windows and 
doors fast shut ; no horses and hardly any foot-passengers 
in the streets, people who had ventured out keeping close 
to the walls, and hurrying over the crossings for fear of 
stray bullets ; all business at a standstill. 

We had already organised a garrison of volunteers. All 
along the river bank, for a distance of several versts, 
shelters were dug out hastily and by night, in which 
volunteers of all ages and classes were posted to observe 
the Chinese on the opposite shore and so render a surprise 
almost impossible. Many people, however, saw danger in 
quite another direction, namely, from the Chinese quarter 
of the town itself. Here dwelt Chinese and Manchurians 
in considerable numbers — merchants, tradesmen, day- 
labourers — whose work had been most useful to the whole 
community. Industrious in the extreme, and modest in 
their requirements, these Chinese subjects had never given 


the smallest cause for complaint ; honesty and con- 
scientiousness were their leading attributes, and in many 
shops and commercial houses, and also in private dwell- 
ings, entire trust was reposed in them as employees. By 
many Russian families with whom the young Chinese 
were in domestic service they were looked on as friends ; 
often they were taught the Russian language, which they 
would study with the greatest diligence. But by the 
lower and less cultivated classes of the Russian population 
the Chinese had never been regarded with favour ; they 
were looked upon as foreigners who obstinately refused to 
amalgamate with the Russians, for the Chinese never, 
with the rarest exceptions, alter their customs or their 
outlook on life. The workmen saw in them dangerous 
competitors, for it is well known that before the Chinese 
came to the Amur wages were higher, (though, on the 
other hand, after the war, when cheap Chinese labour dis- 
appeared, many articles that had been within the means 
of the poorer classes became prohibitively dear). 

From these causes, and also from sheer brutality — for 
coarse and cruel elements are to be found in every nation 
— it happened that even in peaceful times the Chinese 
were often maltreated by Russians when they met in the 
streets, hustled or knocked about, or their pigtails pulled. 
Some more flagrant instances of oppression of the humble, 
timid Chinaman even found their way into the columns of 
the local press; and there were further instances of this sort 
after the mobilisation order, when numbers of reservists, 
called in from their employments in the country districts, 
filled the streets, and would often (especially when drunk) 
fall on any Chinese they encountered, beat them un- 
mercifully, and call after them, " It's your fault, you dogs, 
that we're taken from our work and our families and sent 
to our deaths!" In the eyes of the ordinary European 
the Chinese were not human beings, but " cattle," " beasts" ; 
and the state of things engendered by this feeling had 
caused the military governor to issue a proclamation, 


threatening with punishment those who molested peaceful 
Chinese subjects. 

Trusting in the assurances of the highest local authority, 
the Chinese and Manchurians of Blagovestshensk and its 
environs, to the number of several thousand souls, had 
remained on the spot. They were soon bitterly to rue 
having done so. Even on the 14th of July, when firing 
from the Chinese shore was in progress, and the frightened 
crowd was in panic-stricken flight, one could see how as 
they ran they would turn upon and maltreat any unlucky 
Chinaman who happened to be in the way. Chinese and 
Manchurians fled through the town in a most pitiable 
condition, seeking some safe corner in which to hide ; and 
on the evening of the same day cases were reported of 
their being murdered in the open street. Persons whose 
word could be trusted asserted that the police officials 
themselves had advised citizens to kill any Chinese abroad 
in the town that evening ; for many feared that those on 
Russian territory might come to the assistance of their 
compatriots by setting fire to the town. It was also 
supposed that there might be supporters of the Boxers in 
the town, and to this fear had been due the first suggestions 
of its being advisable to take measures with regard to the 
native population. The more temperate and reflecting 
thought it would be sufficient if those Chinese for whom 
Russian citizens would be surety — and of these there would 
be many — were left to the care of their European pro- 
tectors, and if the rest were assembled together in one 
place and put under proper supervision. But it turned 
out that the local authorities were of a different opinion. 

On the second day after the commencement of the 
bombardment Cossacks both mounted and on foot might 
be seen, together with police, going round to every house 
and inquiring whether there were any Chinese inmates. If 
asked what was wanted with them, they replied that all 
Chinese in the town were to be brought together and placed 
under the charge of the police. Suspecting that nothing 


good was intended, many people sought to conceal the 
Chinese who were with them, hiding them in cellars and 
attics ; but often the neighbours informed the police of 
this, and then the Cossacks would insist, with threats and 
even with drawn swords, on their being delivered up. 
This process of arresting the Chinese lasted over several 

I can hardly describe the consternation of these unhappy 
people when told they must go to the police office. Hastily 
collecting their belongings, they followed the Cossacks with 
faces of unspeakable dismay; and when taking leave of 
their European friends they gave them their money and 
goods to take care of, in many cases begging them to 
discharge some debt, or even giving them the free dis- 
position of their effects — perhaps houses and shops full of 
valuable property. Foreseeing their tragic fate, many 
asked on the way, " Will they behead us ? " 

They were not mistaken in their fears. Murder in cold 
blood awaited them ; and only during the Middle Ages, at 
the time of the Inquisition and the persecution of heretics, 
Jews, and Moors in Spain, have such inhuman proceedings 
as now followed been equalled. 

Some versts above Blagovestshensk, on the left bank of 
the Amur, there is a Cossack settlement. Thither before 
sunrise several thousand Chinese, among them old men, 
cripples, invalids, women, and children, were driven by the 
Cossacks and police. Those who for sickness or fatigue 
could not get so far were stabbed on the road by the 
Cossacks. One man, a representative of the great Chinese 
firm Li-Wa-Chan, refused to proceed, demanding to be 
taken to the governor, who had promised the Chinese 
delegates safety for all who remained on Russian soil ; but 
for answer the Cossacks killed him then and there. The 
deputy -prlstaVy Shabanov, was present, and uttered no 
word of protest against this iniquitous deed. 

When the miserable Chinese had been driven down to 
the shore of the Amur, they were commanded to go into 


the water. Means there were none for reaching the 
opposite Chinese shore; the river at this point is more 
than half a verst (about one-third of a mile) in width, and 
flows with a strong current. One can picture what terror 
seized on the poor creatures at the water's edge. Falling 
on their knees, with hands raised to heaven, or even 
crossing themselves, they implored to be spared such a 
death. Many vowed to become Christians and to be 
naturalised as Russian subjects. But the only response 
vouchsafed to their prayers by the merciless fulfillers of 
official orders were bayonet-thrusts, and blows with the 
butt-end of rifles or with swords, to drive them into the 
river-depths ; any who still continued to resist were simply 
murdered on the spot. 

Persons who by chance were eye-witnesses of this 
wholesale drowning and massacring, which proceeded on 
several successive days before the rising of the sun, tell of 
frightful and heartrending scenes. One Manchurian family 
that was driven into the water consisted of father, mother, 
and two little children. The parents each took a child, 
and tried to swim across the Amur, but all were soon 
sucked down by the current. In another family there was 
one child ; the mother besought the murderers and the 
bystanders at least to take the little one and spare its life, 
but no one would do so. She then left it on the bank and 
herself entered the water, but after a few steps returned, 
seized her child, and carrying it went back into the river, 
then again returned and laid down her precious burden. 
Here the Cossacks intervened to end her vacillations, 
stabbing both parent and child. The tortures of this 
wretched mother and of all the victims thus driven to 
their death can be imagined by everyone not dead to all 
human feeling. Even the above-mentioned police officer, 
Shabanov, declared that he could not remain to the end 
of this scene of horror. 

But very few of that immense multitude, and those only 
the strongest swimmers, succeeded in getting anywhere near 



















xxxiii] THE MASSACRE 337 

the Chinese shore ; yet even of these but a small number 
survived. When the Cossacks saw that they were likely 
to save themselves they sent a few well-planted shots after 
them ; and Chinese marksmen, too, posted in trenches on 
the opposite side, fired on the swimmers — either because 
they took them for Russians, or because they considered as 
enemies all Chinese who had remained in a Russian 
province after, as was asserted, a proposal had been made 
to them that they should return to their homes long before 
the beginning of hostilities. 

When, on July 17th, great numbers of corpses became 
visible floating down the Amur it was clear to everyone 
in Blagovestshensk that these peaceful unarmed Chinese 
inhabitants of the town, whom the governor himself had 
advised not to return to China, but to trust in his promise 
of protection, had been done to death. Scarcely two days 
after the guarantee had been given, General Gribsky had 
faithlessly broken his word, by giving the verbal order 
to " send back the Chinese subjects to China? 

Indignation and horror filled the minds of all right- 
thinking people when they learned in what manner that 
order had been carried out. The dreadful story was told 
with tears and shuddering ; many longed to protest, and 
express their burning wrath at the barbarous treatment of 
the poor harmless Chinese workpeople, but how was that 
possible in Russia? Besides, on the 17th itself, Blago- 
vestshensk and the entire province of the Amur had been 
put under martial law ; consequently anyone who dared 
to protest would have been instantly dragged before 
a court - martial. Some of those who compassionated 
the Chinese tried at least to prevent the continuance of 
the reign of terror. A few instances occurred where 
people who had managed to conceal Chinese servants or 
guests in their houses, went to the local authorities with 
urgent petitions that they might be allowed to offer 
personal surety for these survivors of the massacre; and 
some who had exceptional influence succeeded in saving 


one or two. But such cases were rare, and nearly all who 
were preserved in this way had to remain in custody of 
the police throughout the siege. 

The rich young merchant Yun-Tcha-San (a man with 
a European education, speaking both Russian and French) 
succeeded in escaping in this manner, by heavily bribing 
the officials ; but he is reported to have said that had 
he known what frightful humiliations he would be sub- 
jected to, he would rather have perished in the river. 

A lady well known in the town, Madame Makeyeva, 
went to the governor, with whom she was personally 
acquainted, to beg that her young Chinese servant, who 
had been five years in her house, might remain with her. 
This servant had been of the greatest value to the family ; 
if anyone were ill he nursed and tended them, watching 
by their bedside day and night. But when General 
Gribsky found that it was for a Chinese Madame Make- 
yeva was entreating, he cried, " A Chinaman ! " and draw- 
ing his hand across his throat, added, " That's how we 
shall treat them all." And when Madame Makeyeva 
persisted in her entreaties, explaining further that the man 
in question had long wished to become a Christian, the 
governor merely answered, " I do not issue orders for 
either the imprisonment or the release of these people, it 
has nothing to do with me " ; following up this with the 
declaration of his intention (which he subsequently carried 
out) to lay the whole blame of the drowning and slaughter- 
ing on the shoulders of his subordinates, Batarevitch, 
prefect of police, and Captain Volkovinsky. 

The same lady had a similar reception from the highest 
spiritual authority of the place, the Bishop of the Orthodox 
Church. When Madame Makeyeva begged him on her 
knees to baptise her Chinese servant, this apostle of Christian 
love told her drily that she should not intercede for China- 
men, that it was not right to have them about one ; finally 
recommending her to go to the civil authorities, whose 
business it was. The worldly power sent her to the 

хххш] LOOT 339 

spiritual, and the latter back to the former ; but after much 
difficulty she actually succeeded in gaining her end. Few 
were so persevering in their efforts as she ; I only found a 
very few instances of Chinese being successfully interceded 
for by their Russian employers, although I made very care- 
ful and exhaustive inquiries on the subject. The Chinese 
and Manchurians of the native quarter found no such 
advocates, and they were all drowned or otherwise mur- 
dered without exception. 

Apologists for the massacre were found even among 
people of culture, who argued that even had there not been 
the danger that the Chinese would set the town on fire, we 
were not called on to strengthen our enemies by sending 
their compatriots to reinforce them, or to waste our own 
provisions by keeping them under guard and so having to 
feed them. As to the former excuse, the natives could 
have been rendered perfectly harmless by being massed 
together in one place ; and as for the latter, the Chinese 
had ample provision for their extremely modest needs in 
their own shops, which after their death were plundered by 
Cossacks, police, and others. 

In the attempt to justify their brutal action a false report 
was spread by the police that arms, gunpowder, and even 
dynamite were found in the Chinese shops and houses ; 
and though this was never confirmed in any way, many 
persons were only too ready to believe it. As a matter of 
fact, the possibilities of loot, as well as the repudiation of 
debts owed to Chinese creditors, played a large part in 
causing both the massacre and the justifying of it. When 
the Chinese were arrested the Cossacks and police took 
their money and ransacked their dwellings ; and not only 
the lower but the higher officials enriched themselves con- 
siderably by this means, the booty that this or that police 
officer or member of the local administration had obtained 
for his share being discussed quite openly. Many debtors 
of the Chinese profited by the terrible end of their un- 
fortunate creditors, as it is not customary for Chinese 


business men to keep written memoranda ; their methods 
are based upon personal trust, and their own honesty is 
proverbial. If in any instances such memoranda did 
exist, care was taken that they should disappear, in case 
any claim should afterwards be made by heirs possibly 
existing in China ; while on the other hand Russian 
creditors of the Chinese repaid themselves a hundredfold, 
with the connivance of the police. It would take too 
long to relate all the examples of the wholesale looting 
that was carried on by " respectable " merchants and 
others ; but one or two typical instances may be recorded. 
A rich landowner, proprietor of a large steam-mill, 
Buyanov by name, of whom some Chinese had hired a 
warehouse for their goods, when the owners of the property 
stored there had been drowned, put up a wooden hoarding 
between the warehouse and the next house to it, in order 
that he might possess himself of the dead men's property 
unobserved by inquisitive eyes. Another man of property, 
also named Buyanov, and a cousin of the above, made a 
subterranean passage from his own dwelling to the shop of 
a Chinaman who had lived with him, and conveyed the 
property of the deceased to his own premises. And a 
tradesman named Prikastshikov simply had the wares of a 
Chinaman who had hired a shop from him carried on 
waggons through by-streets to his own shop in a different 
part of the town, having made use of a duplicate key 
which was in his possession. These two last cases came 
before the courts in Blagovestshensk, and the perpetrators 
of the thefts were punished ; but the great majority of 
these instances of plunder were neve" revealed, chiefly 
because the police and the authorities were themselves 
interested in shielding the guilty. After the drowning of 
the Chinese it was decided that the police should take 
charge of their property till legal heirship should be 
established, and this proved a source of much profit to the 
police officials, as may be guessed when the character of 
our police is taken into account, together with the fact that 


in the Chinese quarter were some hundreds of shops and 
warehouses containing valuables worth many millions. 
After the war the police authorities in a few cases sur- 
rendered property (for a substantial consideration, of 
course, sometimes amounting nearly to the value of the 
goods themselves,) to Chinese who proved themselves to 
be the owners, having fortunately survived, or their legiti- 
mate representatives ; but it depended entirely upon the 
ransom offered whether the police would recognise or 
reject such claims, not upon any legal formalities. The 
calm way in which high officials appropriated property 
left in their charge was exemplified by the case of the 
deputy -prlstav Shabanov, surprised by a gentleman, (a 
justice of the peace who had been appointed guardian of 
a Chinese property,) as he was in the act of removing 
several cartloads of the goods in question from the place 
where they were stored. Although this aroused considerable 
comment, and even came before the courts, the trial was 
without result, and Shabanov was not even removed from 
his position as deputy-pristav. 

During several successive days the bodies of the murdered 
Chinese went floating down the Amur in such masses as 
made counting them difficult, and covering a considerable 
expanse of the river. Yet at first no mention was made 
of this in the two local newspapers, nor was there any 
allusion to the fate of the Chinese inhabitants of the town. 
Only on the fourth or fifth day after the holocaust did an 
article appear in The Amur Province, expressing indigna- 
tion at the cruel and gruesome affair. This article was 
copied in Petersburg journals, and thus the civilised 
world for the first time learned how these thousands of 
helpless people had been done to death. The other organ 
of Blagovestshensk, The Amur Gazette, confined itself to 
the meagre announcement that "the Chinese residing on 
Russian territory had been sent away, a suggestion having 
been made to them that they should cross to the other 


side of the river." Grodekov, the governor-general of the 
province, informed the authorities in Petersburg that " the 
Chinese throw their dead and wounded into the river, and 
forty such corpses have been counted." Thus is history 
written ! 

With much the same amount of veracity various officials 
sent reports of the hostilities between the Russians and 
the Chinese. They told of battles that had never taken 
place, of countless Chinese hosts, which they pretended 
had been annihilated, when in reality only women and 
children had been seen, and so forth. In the Amur 
province, for example, much amusement was caused by 
the report sent from Colonel Kanonovitch stating that in 
the so-called " Pyataia Pad " he had overcome an immense 
army of Chinese, for which exploit he received a decora- 
tion. It soon transpired that in the place mentioned 
Kanonovitch had only encountered two Japanese women ! 

But to return to Blagovestshensk. There is no doubt 
that the drowning of the Chinese took place not only with 
the foreknowlege, but by the express order — though 
possibly only verbal — of General Gribsky, military governor 
of the town. To avert suspicion of the fact, however, and 
in order to have a justification of himself ready if need 
should arise, he issued a proclamation some days after the 
massacre, saying that " reports had reached " him " of the 
rough handling and even murder of unarmed Chinese in 
and about the town." " These crimes," he proceeded, 
" have been committed by inhabitants of the town, peasants 
of the villages around, or Cossacks ; and although these 
deeds were provoked by the treachery of the Chinese, who 
had first commenced hostilities against the Russians, any 
further instances of violence towards unarmed persons will 
be punished severely." But, together with this proclama- 
tion, after the taking of Saghalien by the Russians, General 
Gribsky issued another, in which — as head of the Cossack 
forces — he ordered the Cossacks to go across to the 
Chinese shore and there "annihilate all the Chinese bands." 


In other words, he told the Cossacks to massacre the help- 
less Chinese who were left in the place after the flight 
of the troops ; for when once Saghalien had fallen, no 
armed bands were left on the right bank of the Amur. 

General Gribsky carried his hypocrisy so far as to 
appoint a commission to inquire into "the cases of violence 
towards peaceful Chinese." But as this commission would 
have had to report that the drowning and murder of peace- 
ful Chinese had been carried out under his own instructions, 
naturally its findings could not be published. So, after 
the lapse of several months, General Gribsky declared that 
from the report made to him by the commission it was 
evident that the cause of the unfortunate events which 
had occurred had been a want of unity among the officials 
to whom he had entrusted the arrangement of affairs. 
This declaration repeats almost word for word the pro- 
nouncement of the present Tsar, Nicholas II., after the 
death of thousands on the plain of Hodinsky at the time 
of his coronation ; the cause of which the Tsar also found 
to have been a lack of unity in the arrangements. General 
Gribsky evidently wished to suggest that if on apepccasion 
of holiday-making, wholesale deaths had occurred in this 
way, nobody could really be held responsible for the 
killing of Chinese during the bombardment of Blagovest- 
shensk. And nobody was ever brought to book ; General 
Gribsky and all his subordinates remained on at Blago- 
vestshensk in their divers positions. 

It came to light eventually that various authorities 
throughout the province had sent direct written instructions 
to put the Chinese to death ; and that killing the un- 
fortunate people singly and wholesale had been carried 
out in many villages by the peasants, and in Cossack 
settlements by the Cossacks. Several officials won notoriety 
by their instructions to their subordinates on this head — 
Volkovinsky (the colonel of Cossacks), Captain Tusslukov, 
and the stanovoi pristav (commissary of rural police) 
Volkov, among others. 


Obedient to the will of their superiors, the Russian 
peasants and Cossacks armed themselves as they could, 
and began the work of destruction. I cannot undertake 
to describe what went on in the Manchurian territory 
on the Seya — a strip of land not far from Blagovest- 
shensk, the inhabitants of which, though living on Russian 
soil, were Chinese subjects and (by a diplomatic arrange- 
ment) paid taxes to China. Enough to say that altogether 
sixty-eight villages were burnt to the ground, that of 
their inhabitants, some were drowned, some barbarously 
murdered, that property was looted, and cattle were 
driven off by the Russians. In perpetrating these and 
other brutalities — either on their own initiative or following 
out instructions — our peasants thoroughly believed that 
they were fulfilling their duty as loyal subjects. " That 
is how we ought to serve our Tsar and country," one 
stalwart hero concluded his narrative. Persons who in 
time of peace were merciful even to dumb animals were 
changed by those days of horror into stark barbarians. 
Here is an example : In one Russian village an old China- 
man haj41ived for years in the service of a shepherd, and 
all the peasants were most friendly with him. The report 
reached them that "all Chinese must be killed." They 
therefore called a village council and consulted as to what 
should be done with the one Chinaman in the place ; and 
although everyone agreed that he was a good and honest 
old man, it was decided that he must be put to death. 
When the people with whom he lived broke the news to 
him he humbly submitted to the decree, only begging that 
they would accompany him to the place where he was 
to die. 

" I am a lonely old man," he said. " I have neither 
kith nor kin. Do you replace my family and go with me 
to the grave, as is the custom of my people." 

The shepherd and his wife acceded to his request, and 
went with him to the outskirts of the village, where the 
peasants then slew the unresisting old man. 

хххш] FIRE AND SWORD 345 

After a fortnight or so of these massacres, when the 
thirst for blood began to be appeased, and the authorities 
ceased to spur the people on to deeds of violence, they 
began to collect together and bring into the town the few 
Chinese who remained alive, half-dead with hunger and 
mad with terror. These poor wretches, scarcely able to 
move for exhaustion, and those of the Chinese townspeople 
who for one reason or another had been allowed to survive 
— some few dozen persons — were all that remained of the 
many thousand Chinese who had dwelt in Blagovestshensk 
and the neighbourhood. 

It was not difficult to foresee what character the war 
would assume when our soldiers and Cossacks passed over 
into Chinese territory. Scarcely had they crossed the 
Amur on August 3rd and taken possession of Saghalien 
(from which place the inhabitants had fled betimes to the 
interior of the country), when they set everything on fire. 
During the two following nights the flames illuminated the 
river for a long distance ; and in place of a prosperous 
community which supplied Blagovestshenk with food- 
stuffs at very moderate rates, nothing was to be seen on 
the Chinese bank but blackened posts and crumbling 

The entry of our army into Manchuria was not merely 
signalised by flaming dwellings ; nothing and nobody was 
spared. Women, children, and the aged were pitilessly 
slaughtered, young girls violated and then slain. Such 
were the deeds of our " heroes," as General Grodekov in his 
despatches called these warriors, for whose " brave deeds " 
he " could not find words to express his admiration " ! 
But even some of his officers themselves told with a 
shudder of the bloodthirsty instincts developed by these 
" heroes " in a war against unarmed men, women, and 
children on Chinese soil. A rich and thickly-populated 
land was reduced in a few months to a barren desert, 
where charred ruins were visible here and there, and 
corpses were left to the wolves and vultures. 


When indignation is expressed at these atrocities it is 
customary to meet with the excuse, " Read the accounts of 
the cruelties practised by Germans, French, and English in 
China. If more civilised races behave so, what can be 
expected from us less cultivated Russians?" It is hard 
to answer this. The white races did indeed prove during 
that terrible war with " barbaric China," as they con- 
temptuously say, the full worth of their boasted civilisation. 
On the threshold of the twentieth century average Euro- 
peans showed themselves scarcely less barbarous than the 
hordes of Tamerlane and Tchengis-Khan. 

All this shocking achievement of Russian officialdom, 
either directly or indirectly authorised, of course went 
unpunished. But no! I must let the exact truth have its 
way. General Gribsky held a judicial inquiry into the 
conduct of his subordinates (who had carried out his own 
orders), and the Russian newspapers shortly afterwards 
informed their readers that " the chief of police in Blago- 
vestshensk had been sentenced to three months' imprison- 
ment" — for the drowning, shooting, or stabbing of from 
ten to fifteen thousand helpless and inoffensive Chinese! 



THE terrible events that had happened in the town, 
and the death of our unhappy fellow-citizens, could 
not but leave an indelible impression on many people's 
minds, my own included. Blagovestshensk had become so 
detestable to us that many left the place as soon as things 
were quiet again. Unfortunately I could not follow their 
example at once ; but I determined on the first opportunity 
to transfer myself to the Far East, in which I had long been 
interested. I intended to settle in the busy commercial 
town of Vladivostock, and there patiently await the time 
when I might be free to return home. Before that time 
could arrive five or six years had still to pass ; but the 
nearer the time came, the more irrepressible grew the desire 
to quit Siberia, and the thought of flight recurred again 
and again. Nevertheless doubts also arose whether it were 
worth while to jeopardise the freedom, however limited, 
that I had won by my sixteen years of prison and exile. 
If my attempt failed, I should have rendered myself 
liable to all the rigour of the law ; and I was no longer of 
an age to bear suffering and privations as in youth, for I 
was now well past my fortieth year. 

Thus did I hesitate backward and forward until the 
spring of 1 901, when various personal reasons made me 
come to a definite decision, which resulted in my burning 



the bridge behind me, as the saying goes. I resolved to 
escape as soon as the Amur was open for travelling 

Circumstances favoured my project ; a kind friend who 
had a large connection throughout the country promised 
his aid, and the following plan seemed the easiest of 
execution. I was to leave Blagovestshensk unobserved, 
going first to Habarovsk and thence to Vladivostock, 
where I must take my passage on a foreign vessel bound 
for Japan ; and this I succeeded in carrying through, with 
the help of the friend above mentioned. 

It need hardly be said that I cannot give all the details 
of my flight from Siberia, where I was under strict police 
supervision ; for I must not compromise those who assisted 
me. As I went on board the steamboat that was leaving 
for Habarovsk, (of course, taking no luggage with me,) 
there suddenly appeared the de^uty-pristav to whose district 
I belonged. Of course, at the first moment I thought my 
plans had been discovered, and I was not a little alarmed ; 
but I was soon satisfied that the official had merely come 
to take leave of some friends who were travelling by the 
same boat. It evidently never entered his head that I was 
taking my departure from Blagovestshensk under the very 
nose of the police ; I suppose he thought that, like him- 
self, I had come to say farewell to some friend, (which was 
quite permissible,) and I managed that he should lose 
sight of me, so that he might imagine I had gone home. 

I found there were people of my acquaintance on board 
who belonged to the place ; but they apparently never 
once thought that I was leaving Siberia for good ; and in 
conversation with them I let it appear that I was travelling 
on some official commission. Our boat was a tug, and 
therefore went very slowly ; it stopped at every village on 
the way, and took five days to reach Habarovsk. Here 
came my most perilous moment, as on leaving the steamer 
everyone had to show their passes, and of course I had 
none. I avoided this difficulty by staying on the boat for 

xxxiv] HABAROVSK 349 

the night ; and next morning I betook myself to the 
house of a friend, who came on board and fetched me. 
I spent the day with him, and we devoted it to seeing 
the town. 

I had every intention of seeing as much as possible, 
during my journey eastwards, of this country — hitherto 
unknown to me — which was developing with such extra- 
ordinary rapidity, especially since the construction of the 
railway by the Ussur. Villages were springing up like 
mushrooms, and soon became towns of a considerable size. 
Habarovsk itself had developed from the insignificant 
hamlet of Habarovka into an important town which is 
now the residence of the Governor-General of the Amur 
province. It is situated at the junction of the Amur with 
the Ussur, and stands in a most picturesque position on a 
steep and lofty cliff around whose base flow the two mighty 
rivers. But this chief town of a vast and fertile country 
is itself like nothing but a great barrack ; nearly all 
the houses have the appearance of official buildings, and 
one meets soldiers in the streets at every turn. As in 
most Russian towns, there is no look of comfort ; the 
streets are unpaved and very dusty, and are dimly lighted 
at night by oil lamps standing at a respectful distance from 
each other. I found the town museum, however, by no 
means ill-equipped. 

Faithful to my intention of learning all I could about 
the country, I gladly accepted the invitation of a friend, 
near whose place of abode I must pass, and went to visit 
him at Nikolsk-Ussurisk. This place had only within 
the year attained to the dignity of being called a town, 
and, like many others in the province, it swarmed with 
soldiers ; which was explained by the fact that the 
slaughtering of Chinese was not yet entirely at an end, 
and, as was supposed, preparations were also being made 
for war with Japan. As the district lies in close proximity 
to China, Korea, and Japan, and is the probable theatre of 
future warlike operations, the Russian Government is 


apparently taking its measures in good time, and by 
drafting in large numbers of soldiers is converting the 
province into a sort of military camp. 

After a stay of four-and-twenty hours at Nikolsk- 
Ussurisk I went on to Vladivostock, a very pretty sea- 
port of some thirty thousand inhabitants, for which — not 
without good grounds — a brilliant future is prophesied. 
Its situation is charming, and in its public arrangements it 
is already far in advance, not only of most Siberian towns, 
but also of many in European Russia. Here I stayed 
three days before I could arrange for my passage on a 
foreign vessel, but at length all was ready, and my last 
night in Siberia arrived. I slept but little. The thought 
that next morning I was to bid farewell to all that time 
had made so familiar to me mingled with my fears for 
the successful achievement of my escape. So often in my 
life had some small chance cruelly frustrated all my 
plans that I naturally trembled now for the result of the 
present adventure. I had no desire to find myself suddenly 
bound for the icy regions of Yakutsk instead of for the 
lands of freedom, and I prepared beforehand for every 

All went well, however, and next morning I boarded 
a ship that was going to Japan. Yet, when the boat 
weighed anchor and danger no longer threatened me, a 
strange feeling of sadness came over me, as though I were 
parting, not from the land of prison and exile, but from a 
dear home. Thus can custom attach a man even to chains 
and bondage. But I felt that it was not only from use 
and wont that I was parting ; I was not merely leaving 
Siberia, but Russia — and perhaps for ever. 

It was a dismal day, the sky was covered with heavy 
clouds, and rain flowed in torrents. Our steamer rolled 
violently, and many of the passengers were seasick ; but, 
though I had hardly ever been on the sea before, I re- 
mained immune, and rejoiced thereat, as I had another 

xxxiv] KOREA AND JAPAN 351 

long voyage before me. We soon began to skirt the coast 
of the Korean peninsula, and entered two harbours, those 
of Gensan and Fusan, remaining four-and-twenty hours in 
each. I went on shore with some other passengers to see 
the towns, which in many respects resemble those of 
Japan — the same style of building, the same apparent 
superfluity of shops and booths. The Japanese appear to 
be the ruling spirits there, and the efforts of Russia to 
oust them do not seem likely to be crowned with success ; 
nor in my opinion are they justified, for Japan has every 
right to exercise her civilising influence on Korea. 

I also visited a Korean village in the neighbourhood 
of Gensan, and was astonished at its primitive character. 
It consisted of one very narrow street bordered by straw- 
thatched wooden huts, which had neither windows nor 
doors, the latter being replaced by loose boards. The 
whole population evidently lived principally in the street, 
carrying on all occupations there — cooking, eating, and so 

Five days after our departure from Vladivostock the 
steamer dropped anchor in the harbour of Nagasaki. As 
soon as the health regulations had been complied with 
I got into one of the little boats that had crowded along- 
side and went to an hotel close to the sea. Compared 
with Russian inns it seemed to me cheap, clean, and 
comfortable ; and the Japanese servants spoke a little 
broken Russian. 

In Nagasaki I had to decide how I would pursue my 
journey. I might go by the Suez Canal to one of the 
ports of Western Europe, and that was the shortest and 
cheapest route ; but I had a great wish to see something 
of North America while the opportunity offered, and thus 
to complete the journey round the world that had been 
begun so much against my will. I inquired about the 
next boat for San Francisco, and found it would not leave 
for nine or ten days, but I resolved to employ the interval 
in seeing the neighbourhood. 


Nagasaki is a rather large town of over one hundred 
thousand inhabitants, and lies scattered picturesquely over 
the hills that surround a fine bay. Most of the streets, 
especially in the Japanese quarter, are too narrow for 
horse traffic to be possible through them ; horses are, there- 
fore, replaced by men, who with their little two-wheeled 
carriages (jinrikiska) play the part of cab horses, and are 
called kurneu There are so many of them that they 
literally stand before every house, and crowd in front of 
the hotels and big shops. They surround any stranger in 
the street, bidding against each other for his custom, and 
each trying to win his favour, chattering in broken Russian 
or English. For the modest sum of ten sen (about 2%d.) 
the course, or twenty sen the hour, the kurnei will take his 
u fare " with marvellous swiftness up hill and down dale ; 
and it not seldom happens that though the perspiration 
may be streaming from the brow of the kurnei, the 
" civilised " European in his little carriage may be seen 
laying a stick or an umbrella across his shoulders to urge 
him onward. The poor fellow who thus turns himself into 
a beast of burden must give almost half of his hardly 
earned day's wage to the proprietor of the jinrikisha, and 
must also pay something to the State for the licence 
authorising him to support himself in this laborious way. 
His living, however, is cheap enough, his food consisting of 
rice and an inferior kind of fish. 

Most of the houses in Nagasaki are two-storied wooden 
buildings, the ground-floor being used as a shop, inn, or 
workshop. It was a puzzle to me where all these in- 
numerable shops could find customers, and how they 
managed to exist. In my rambles I often saw a whole 
row of shops without a single purchaser, and if one entered 
he was instantly surrounded as though a customer were the 
rarest of guests. 

The houses in the Japanese quarter are built in a 
wonderfully light and airy fashion, as if just run up hastily 
for summer quarters. Throughout the town there reigns 

xxxiv] NAGASAKI 353 

the most perfect order ; the streets are excellently paved, 
and the portion before each house is kept clean and 
watered by the occupier. There is never the least dust, 
and the air is singularly mild and pure. One feels how 
each breath dilates and strengthens the lungs, and it is 
not to be wondered at that many Russians and English 
use Nagasaki as a health-resort. 

The European quarter, along the quay, is full of hotels 
and restaurants, banks, and other houses of business. 
Here the streets are somewhat wider, and the houses 
more solidly built, with the lower stories of brick, while 
many of them have verandas and front gardens. Life in 
Nagasaki is wonderfully cheap, but it is also a trifle 
monotonous, particularly for a stranger not conversant 
with the language. There is little in the way of " sights " 
— two or three temples of Buddha, with gigantic pictures 
of Sakia-Mouni, a commercial institute with samples of 
native goods, and the well-known tea-houses; that is all the 
visitor is invited to inspect. But the neighbourhood is 
extremely beautiful, and at every step one is forced to 
admire the industry of the Japanese, who leave no inch 
of soil untilled ; except the very tops of the rocky hills , 
all is carefully cultivated. And yet, notwithstanding this 
heavy labour that the Japanese expends upon his land, his 
existence seems to have something of the ethereal and 
fairylike ; and many things in his wonderful country con- 
tribute to produce an impression of unreality, as if they 
were happening not in actual life, but on the screen of a 

The " progress M that Japan has made during the latter 
half of the nineteenth century is doubtless very striking ; 
but it seems^ to me overestimated by many Europeans 
and also by the Japanese themselves. Only a very small 
part of the population has been affected by Western civili- 
sation — a thin layer of the upper classes in the coast 
towns. The rest of the people are scarcely touched by it ; 
not only beliefs and customs, but the whole mode of living 
3 ^\ 


remains the same, both in town and country, as it has 
been from time immemorial. The primitive nature of the 
Japanese character reveals itself in the transparent honesty 
everywhere prevalent. No house or shop is shut up for 
the night ; nobody touches what does not belong to him ; 
and lost property when found is immediately restored to 
the owner. But in the seaports where European culture 
already makes its influence felt, it may be feared that 
the Japanese will soon adopt new ideas of " honour." 

I left Nagasaki on board the huge Pacific steamer China, 
belonging to an American company. The two days that 
the boat stopped at Yokohama I spent in visiting that 
town and the capital Tokio, which is reached in about 
twenty minutes by rail ; but there is no need to give my 
superficial impressions of such well-known places. 

During the first five days of the voyage I could talk 
with none of my fellow-passengers, as I spoke no English, 
and I found this very wearisome ; but at Yokohama we 
were joined by a Frenchman, a German, and a Japanese 
who spoke a little German, and we four formed an inter- 
esting little international society, the members of which 
still keep in touch with one another. 

On the sixteenth day we reached Honolulu, where our 
boat was to wait four-and-twenty hours. I had already 
heard when I was in Blagovestshensk that a good friend 
of mine, Dr. N. Russel, was living on one of the Hawaiian 
islands ; so I determined to find out whether he was in 
Honolulu, and if so to pay him a visit during the boat's 
stay here. With the help of my French travelling- 
companion I managed to find out, though only towards 
evening, that my friend lived on the island of Hawaii, 
but that he happened just then to be in Honolulu. 
However, as when I found the house where he was staying 
he was not at home, I left a note telling him that an 
old comrade of his, who was travelling from Siberia to 
Western Europe, would like to see him, begging him 
to oome on board the China next morning and to ask 

xxxiv] HONOLULU 355 

for " the Russian." I purposely signed my name very 
indistinctly, for I wanted to see if he would recognise me, 
as it was fully twenty years since we had met 

While I was on deck next day I saw a grey-haired 
gentleman in a white coat come on board. I went towards 
him at once, (though he bore no resemblance to my 
comrade of old days,) and when I found that he was 
seeking " the Russian " I called him by his name, and 
asked if he knew who I was. He looked at me for some 
time, but could not recognise me, so much had I altered 
since we had been together ; and at last I had to tell him 
my name. 

" Deutsch ! is it you ? How did you come here ? " he 
cried, as he embraced me. I told him in a few words the 
story of my escape, and that I was on my way to Europe. 

" And you're going on this very day ? No, we can't 
allow that ! You must stay with me. We'll stay here for 
a day or two, and then you must come back to the farm 
with me!" 

His invitation was so cordial that I should have accepted 
it immediately could I have afforded to forfeit the value of 
my ticket from Honolulu to San Francisco, about fifty 
dollars ; but when Dr. Russel understood my difficulty he 
cried — 

" Nonsense ! That shan't prevent you. If you lose 
your money I shall pay the difference myself." And after 
some discussion I yielded to his insistence, and went on 
shore with him. 

I found that Dr. Russel was not only practising as a 
physician in Hawaii, but that he was a member of the 
Senate, and was at present in Honolulu to attend the 
session of that legislative body ; consequently I remained 
there for several days, and had full time to admire the 
lovely town. I then went back with my friend to the 
island of Hawaii, where his wife awaited us, and there 
spent a month ; during which time I learned from the 
Russels and their friends, and also from books, a great deal 


about both the present and past history of these wonderful 
islands. The lives of the natives exhibit much that is 
curious, and also much that is tragic ; but I must not 
dilate on all that I saw. I will only mention the fact that 
the Hawaiians are dying out with almost inconceivable 
rapidity. Of the strong, healthy race, who when Cook 
discovered the islands numbered four hundred thousand 
souls, after the lapse of not quite a hundred years only 
about twenty thousand are left, and this remnant afflicted 
with various diseases that were unknown previous to the 
arrival of Europeans. 

My stay with the Russels gave me much pleasure ; we 
made expeditions to various parts of the island, to see the 
volcano Kilauea, the sugar plantations, the native villages, 
and so on ; and we were never tired of congratulating 
ourselves on the turn of fortune that had brought us 
together on this island of the Pacific. At last, towards the 
end of July, after a delightful visit, I set out on my travels 
once more, this time in a sailing-ship. We were twenty- 
six days on the journey to San Francisco ; though the 
weather was generally fine, I became heartily tired of 
the voyage, and was very glad when on the evening of 
August 25th we arrived in the harbour of San Francisco. 
Dr. Russel had given me introductions to friends of his, 
and with their help I made myself at home in the 
Californian capital. After ten days' rest there I went on 
to Chicago, and so to New York. 

In Chicago I was received, through a letter of introduc- 
tion, by two Polish Socialists, immigrants who were living 
there. They welcomed me very kindly, but unfortunately 
my ticket did not allow of my remaining with them more 
than two days. President McKinley had been assassinated 
on the very day before my arrival in Chicago ; people had 
quite lost their heads, and turned upon peaceable Socialists, 
accusing them of anarchism. My friends therefore advised 
me to be careful in travelling, and not to use my own 
name; so I selected a pseudonym and travelled incognito. 

xxxiv] EUROPE AGAIN 357 

In New York another comrade, Dr. Ingermann, received 
me, and I stayed in his house four weeks ; after which I 
embarked in the English steamship Satrapia for Liverpool. 
I pass over my voyage, a stay of two weeks in London, 
and the same in Paris, as containing nothing worthy of 
note. Everywhere on the Continent I met with old com- 
rades, many of whom had changed much during the long 
years of our separation. Some could not recognise me at 
all, others only with difficulty ; all regarded me as one 
come from another world. 

From Paris I went to Zurich. This was the final point 
of my six months' journey from Blagovestshensk, and 
here dwelt my old friends the Axelrods, 1 from whom I had 
parted seventeen and a half years before. After a journey 
round the world of not quite the usual type, I returned to 
them again on November 5 th, 1901. 

" Look ! he hasn't changed a bit," cried Axelrod, as he 
pointed me out to his wife at the station. But it was only 
at the first moment of meeting that it seemed so to him. 

For over a year now I have been living again in freedom, 
going about from one town to another. During that time 
I have learned to feel at home in more than one European 
country; but it may be readily believed that what is 
passing in my native land interests me beyond everything 
else. Eighteen years make but a brief span in the life of 
a nation ; yet during that period a transformation has 
come over Russia that must meet the eyes of even a 
superficial observer. At the time of my arrest at Freiburg, 
in 1884, there were but a few groups of revolutionists, and 
they were recruited chiefly from the young student classes, 
who rebelled against existing social and political con- 
ditions. And, as I have explained, owing to the methods 
of wholesale executions and arrests adopted by the 
Government, these organisations dwindled and almost 

1 See chap. i. et seq. — Trans. 


entirely disappeared ; so that from the end of the eighties 
thorough-going reaction was triumphant for a time. Of 
late years, however, it has been quite otherwise. The 
publications issued by our secret press and distributed 
throughout the length and breadth of the Russian Empire, 
calling on the people to rise against the existing despotism, 
number above one hundred thousand, and they meet with 
energetic response among the population of large towns 
and factory districts. Workmen collect in great crowds in 
the streets along with the students, and by means of 
monster demonstrations they voice their demand for 
political freedom and the abolition of autocratic govern- 
ment. The Tsar and his ministers endeavour by the most 
cruel and severe measures to quench the torch that has 
been kindled in the land : the greater part of Russia has 
been placed under martial law ; the prisons can hardly 
contain the numbers of their captives ; those who protest 
against such a regime are sent to Siberia by the trainload. 
But nothing can stem the tide of the movement ; it will 
rise higher and higher, embracing ever wider circles of the 
people, and the hour is not far off when autocracy will be 
laid low, as it was in Western Europe so many generations 
ago. My flight from Siberia has taken place at a moment 
in our history which is full of hope for the future. 

In Western Europe also great changes have taken place 
during the last two decades, though none, perhaps, so 
significant as in Russia. In Germany the special laws 
against Social Democrats have been repealed ; and this 
has not only made a great difference to our party, but has 
altered the internal life of the nation in a striking manner. 
In one respect, however, Germany has made no advance: 
she is still ready to lend her aid to Russian despotism. 
Just in the same manner as I was arrested and delivered 
over to the Russian Government eighteen years ago, 
though guilty of no offence against German law, so a 
compatriot of mine has suffered a like fate even while 
I have been writing this memoir. The Russian student 


Kalayev was arrested in Mysolowitz (1902) without any 
warrant, and handed over to the Russian gendarmerie ; 
since which he has not been heard of. The Prussian 
police have in no way altered their methods during the 
years that have flown ; but to the credit of the German 
people I must admit, that with the exception of official 
journals, the entire press was most indignant over this 
complaisance of the German Government towards the 



Administrative methods, 34, 36, 65, 
293; "politicals" exiled by, 105, 
107, 285, 326; institution of banish- 
ment by, viii 

Agapov, Stephen, 182 

Aigun, 329 

Akatoui, new prison at, 292 ; order 
for the removal of prisoners to, 294 
Aksha, 193 
Alexander I., vi 

Alexander II., vii ; attempts against 
his life, 10, 11, 117, 219 ; result of 
his assassination, 230 ; mode of his 
assassination, 264 

Alexander III., his policy, 130; sur- 
mises as to his possible assassina- 
tion, 230 ; attempt on his life, 259 ; 
manifesto pardoning convicts, 307 ; 
his death, 316 

Alexandrovo, 46 

Alexandrovskaya, plot to undermine 
station at, 269 

Alexei-Ravelin tower of the Fortress 
of Peter and Paul, 219, 260, 262 

Alexeiev, mayor of Tchita, 174 

"Alleviation, time of," 236 

Alphabetical code used in communi- 
cations between prisoners, 51 n. 
Amur Gazette, The, 341 
Amur Province, The, 341 

Amur, Province of the, 328 ; under 
martial law, 337 

Amur River, 328 ; massacre on banks 

of. 334-337 
Antonov, his execution, 104 п., i88n. 
Anutchin, Governor-General, 189 n. 
Archangel, 285 

Armfeld, Natalia, 206 ; death, 207 
Artel, or union, the criminals', 155 п., 

ібо, 177-180 ; system of, in Kara 

prison, 221 

Aschenbrenner, Captain, 115П. 

Asia and Europe, boundary post 
between, 147 

Axelrod, 16, 1 7 п., 357 

Axelrod, Frau, 2, 28 

Baikal, Lake, 195 
Balagansk, 187 
Balamutz, Andreas, 235 n. 
Barabash, General, military governor 

of Tchita, 174 
Barannikov, 264 
Basel, 1 ; University, 14 
Bastille, anniversary of the storming 

of, celebrated, 283 

Batarevitch, 338 
Belino-Bshezovsky, 122 
Beresov, 152 

Berezniak, 210 ; his escape from Ir- 
kutsk prison and recapture, 189 п.; 
attempt to rescue Medvediev, 261 ; 
arrest and sentence, 262 

Berg, Baron, 70 

Berg, Herr von, the Public Prose- 
cutor, 28, 33 

Berlin, journey to, 44 ; gaol at, 45 

Beverley, his attempt to escape from 
Kiev prison, 99 ; shot, 100 

"Biscuits," meaning of the term, 

Bitshkov, Vladimir, his disappearance 

from Kiev prison, 100 
Bitshoug, River, 323 
Blagovestshensk, 327 ; siege of, 332 ; 

massacre near, 334-337 
Bobohov, Sergius, his career, 285 

sentence, 286 ; characteristics, 286 

on the threat of flogging, 287 

commits suicide, 290 

Bogdanovitch, his recognition of 
Deutsch, 38, 39, 40 ; in Petersburg, 
71 ; assassination, 71 n. 

Bogolyubov, flogged, 288 

2 A 2 




Bogomoletz, Sophia, her escape from 
Irkutsk prison and recapture, 189П. ; 
story of her life, 191 ; in Kara 
prison, 269 ; removed, 271 

Bohanovsky, his escape from Kiev 
prison, 10, 15, 99 п., 210 п. 

Bolshakov, Governor, 207 

"Bombists," 131 

Borisovitch, 120 

Bosnia, insurrection in, 85 

Boundary post between Europe and 
Asia, 147 

Brantner, his execution, 104 п., i88n. 

Bubnovsky, the locksmith, 241 

Buligin, Alexander, 3, 17 n. 

Buligin, Frau, her visit to Freiburg 
prison, 30 

Bunt, meaning of the word, 9 n. 

Burlei, Captain, Commandant of 

Kara prison, 237 
"Butirki," or the Central Prison of 

Moscow, no; number of prisoners, 

Butzevitch, 268 
Butzmsky, 57 n. 
Buyanov, 340 

"Carrier-pigeons," meaning of the 
term, 59 

"Case of the 193," 86, 234m 
Census, orders for a, 317 ; report to 

be drawn up, 319; conference at 

Stanitsa Aigunskaya, 321 

Cesarevitch, his journey through 
Siberia, 309 

Cheesemonger's shop, subterranean 
passage from, 268 

Chicago, 356 

China, Pacific steamer, 354 

Chinese, their attack on the Russian 
boats at Aigun, 329 ; character, 332 ; 
treatment by the Russians, 333 ; 
massacred, 335— 337 ; appropriation 
of their property, 339-341 

Code, alphabetical, used in communi- 
cations between prisoners, 51 n. 

"Commune room" in Kara prison, 
inmates of, 257 

Convict, a criminal, his appearance, 
154; of "unknown antecedents," 
163; his views, 164; mode of 
living, 165 ; tramps, 1 65 ; treat- 
ment of, 167 

Convict labour, employment of, in 
Kara, 311 

Convicts, equipment of, 95 ; head- 
shaving, 95 ; fetters, 95 ; dress, 96 ; 
appearance, 112 ; loss of clothes at 
Tchita, 201 

Convoy officers, their character, 180; 
treatment of the prisoners, 180-182 
Convoy-stations, 158 

Criminals, ordinary, distinction be- 
tween "politicals," 97 n. ; regula- 
tions, 135; the "Ivans," 155; 
passion for gambling, 159 ; rela- 
tions with the "politicals," 163; 
tramps, 165 ; escape of, 165 ; char- 
acter, 166, 171, 175 ; treatment, 
167 ; influence of the " Ivans," 175 

Dashkievitch, Peter, 119; sentence, 

137 ; exile, 151 
Debagorio - Makrievitch, Vladimir, 

104 ; his mode of escape, 155 
Decabrists, revolt of the, vi, 200 
Degaiev, a member of the Narodnaia 

Vblya, 43 ; his treachery, 43 n. ; 

sentence on, 82 
Degaiev, Mdme., 119 
Dessyatnik, or village constable, 314 

Detention, House of, at Freiburg, 5 ; 
Petersburg, 57 ; rules, 58 ; out- 
door exercise, 60 ; system of com- 
munication, 66 

Deutsch, Leo, at Freiburg, 3 ; arrest, 
4, 10 ; imprisoned, 5 ; joins the 
" Propagandist movement," 6 ; 
member of the Kiev Buntari, 9 ; 
attempt on the life of Gorinovitch, 
9 ; escapes from Kiev, 10, 98 ; 
examination, 12 ; recognition of 
Prof. Thun, 14 ; statement of his 
case, 17 ; founds the League for 
the Emancipation of Labour, 17 n. ; 
religious opinions, 24 ; his photo- 
graph, 27 ; change of cell, 28 ; 
plans of escape, 31 ; interviews 
with the Public Prosecutor, 33-36, 
37 ; defence, 34 ; charges against, 
35 ; extradition demanded, 35 ; 
preparations for the journey to 
Russia, 41 ; at Frankfurt-am-Main 
prison, 42 ; Berlin prison, 45 ; 
Granitza, 46 ; Fortress of Peter 
and Paul, 48 ; first examination- 
52 ; deprived of his spectacles, 55 ; 
at the House of Detention in Peters- 
burg 57-72 ; reasons for his con- 



finement in the fortress, 61-63 * 
methods of communication be- 
tween prisoners, 65, 66 ; at Odessa 
prison, 73 ; hunger-strikes, 76, 277 ; 
method of hearing news, 81 ; brief 
military career, 84-87 ; terms of his 
indictment, 87 ; trial, 88-91 ; sen- 
tence, 91 ; made to assume the 
dress of a convict, 95 ; a "political" 
prisoner, 97 ; at Kiev prison, 98 ; 
at Moscow prison, 1 10 ; unfastens 
his fetters, 124; preparations for 
leaving Moscow, 138 ; revolt against 
head-shaving, 139; on the journey 
by boat, 142, 151 ; at Tiumen, 148; 
at Tomsk, 153 ; offered a "swop," 
154-157 ; friendly relations with 
convicts, 163 ; at Krasnoyarsk, 
184 ; at Irkutsk, 189 ; at Verkhny- 
Udinsk, 196 ; loss of his fetters, 
199 ; at Tchita prison, 201 ; Nert- 
chinsk, 204 ; Kara, 206 ; in the 
" nobles' room," 215 ; in the " San- 
hedrin room," 240 ; attack of 
scurvy, 245 ; in the " Commune 
room," 257 ; his release, 299 ; at 
the penal settlement, 300 ; his 
work, 302 ; hut, 303 ; relations 
with the peasants, 312 ; his treat- 
ment of the prhtaV) 314 ; assists in 
taking the census, 317-322 ; search 
for a monumental stone, 323 ; at 
Stretyensk, 325 ; his longing for 
home, 327 ; at Blagovestshensk, 
327 ; flight from Siberia, 347 ; at 
Habarovsk, 349 ; Nikolsk-Ussurisk, 
349 ; Vladivostock, 350 ; Nagasaki, 
35J-353; Yokohama, 354; Hono- 
lulu, 354; Hawaii, 355 ; San 
Francisco, 356 ; Chicago, 356 ; 
New York, 357 ; Zurich, 357 

Dihovsky, Moses, 235 n. 

Dmohovsky, his burial, 234 n. 

Dnieper, 99 m, 143 

Doha, or cloak, 317 

Dorpat, 15 

Dostoievsky, Memoirs from the Dead- 
house, 293 

Drebyasghin, condemned to death, 
11, 62 

Drenteln, General, 217 ; attempt on 
his life, 218 

Duhring, Eugene, 212, 216 

Dulemba, 259 

Dzvonkyevitch, his attempt to escape 
on the march to Siberia, 170 ; in 
Kara prison, 210 

Easter, celebration of, in Russia, 

Ekaterinburg, 144 

Elisavetgrad, Kiev Buntari at, 9 

Erthel, 65 

Espionage in German prison, 25 

Etape, or halting-station, 147, 149, 

Europe and Asia, boundary post be- 
tween, 147 

Exiles, 148, 198, 293 п., 307 

Extradition, treaty between Germany 
and Russia, 6, 53 ; Deutsch's, 40, 
62 ; Gotz's attempted, 282 n. 

Fetters, fastening on, 95 ; loss, 199 ; 
permission to break, 124-126 

Fifty, trial of the, 205 

Figner, Vera, her appearance, 80 ; 
arrest, 80 n. ; sentence, 115 п., 
Ii8; her character, 116, 118; 
revolutionary views, 116; impres- 
sions of the peasants, 117 ; attempt 
on the life of Alexander II., 117 ; 
in Schltisselburg for life, 118 

Flogging, punishment of, 285, 288, 

Fomin, imprisoned in Kara, 241 ; 
his industry, 241 ; studies natural 
science, 242; release, 299 n. 

Fomitchov, his escape from Irkutsk 

prison and recapture, 189 п.; in 

Kara prison, 241 ; sentence, 242 ; 

chained to the wheelbarrow, 242 ; 

his defence of the Tsar, 243 ; attack 

on Pohorukov, 296 ; his reasons for 

it, 297 ; term of imprisonment 

lengthened, 298 
Food, in Freiburg prison, 23 ; in 

Fortress of Peter and Paul, 50 ; 

in Moscow prison, 132 ; in Kara 

prison, 221 
"Fourteen, trial of the," 112, 115 
Frankfurt-am-Main, 42 ; governor of 

the gaol at, 42 
Freiburg, 1 ; journey to, 2 ; arrested 

at, 4 ; imprisoned, 5 ; departure 

from, 42 
Freiburg prison, 21 
Frolenko, assists prisoners to escape 

from Kiev, 98, 99 п.; his attempt 

on the life of Alexander II., 117 ; 

sentence, 117 m 

Fusan harbour, 351 

3 6 4 


Galitzin, Prince, Vice-Governor of 

Moscow, 136 
Galkin-Vrassky, head of the Prisons 

Department, 136, 234 ; in Kara, 235 

Gambling, habit of, 159, 177 
Garden, laying out a, in Kara prison, 

Gehkin, Baron, murdered, 70; allows 

Lurye to escape, 86 

Gehlis, 57 n. 

Gendarmerie, the Russian, x, 46 

Gensan harbour, 351 

Germany, Social - Democratic move- 
ment, law against, 1 ; methods, 
213 ; repealed, 358 

Germany, conditions of prison life, 
22 ; the Public Prosecutor, 27 

Gold, search for, in the River Kara, 


Goldenberg, his statement, 92 

Golubtsov, captain of the guard, 208 ; 
his relations with the "politicals," 
272 ; advice to Masyukov, 273 ; 
transferred to the section for ordin- 
ary criminals, 296 

Gorinovitch, Nicholas, his treachery, 
9 ; attempt against his life, 9, 35, 
53 ; deposition, 89 

Gotz, Michael, attempt to obtain his 
extradition, 282 n. 

Granitza, the frontier station, 46 

Gratchensky, 268 

Gribsky, General, N. R., military 
governor of the Amur province, 
329 ; on the massacre of the 
Chinese, 342 ; order to annihilate 
Chinese, 342 

Grodekov, General, 91 

Grodekov, Governor-General, 329 

Gruzia, 205 

Grynevitsky, assassinates Alexander 
II., 264; death, 264 m 

Habarovsk, 329, 348, 349 
Halting-stations, 147, 160, 180, 203 
Hawaii, island of, 355 

Head-shaving, process of, 95, 120 ; 

dispensation, 126 ; revolt against, 

Herzegovina, insurrection in, 85 

Herzfeld, Sophia Loschern von, 266, 

Hodinsky, plain of, 343 

Honolulu, 354 

Hrustchov, Nicholas, sentence, 234 n. ; 
escape from Kara prison, 234 ; re- 
capture, 235 ; his manual work, 241 

Hunger-strikes, 190, 263, 273, 277, 
284 ; method of, 76 


Illegals, meaning of the term, 9 n. 
Ilyashevitch, Governor, 193, 235 ; 

attempt on his life, 193 
Ingermann, Dr., 357 
Irkutsk prison, 189 
Irtisch, 151 
Isbitsky, Ladislas, 171 

Isbitsky, V., his attempt to escape 

from Kiev prison, 99, 155 
Ispravnik, or head of the district 

police, 145 

Ivanein, Karl, 241 

Ivanov, Basil, his escape from Kiev 
prison, 100 

Ivanov, Colonel, 68 
Ivanov, I., 57 n. 
Ivanova, Sophia, 196 
Ivanovskaya, Praskovya, 269 
Ivantchenko, his escape from Irkutsk 
prison and recapture, 189П. 

Japan, progress of, 353 ; character of 
the people, 354 

Kalayev, his arrest, 359 

Kalyushnaya, Maria, her attempt on 
the life of Colonel Katansky, 82 ; 
sentenced to penal servitude, 82, 
151, 157 ; her longing for freedom, 
172; at Nertchinsk prison, 204; at 
Ust-Kara, 206 ; in Kara prison, 
269 ; joins in a hunger-strike, 273 ; 
takes poison, 288 

Kalyushny, Alexander, his attempted 
escape from Irkutsk prison, 189 п.; 
a " Sirius," 229 ; appointed inter- 
mediary in the women's hunger- 
strike, 273 ; commits suicide, 290 

Kama, the, 142 

Kanonovitch, Colonel, 342 

Kara penal settlement, 227 п., 300; 
legal regulations, 236 ; j^Nizhnaya- 

Kara prison, escape of prisoners, 
57 п., 234; arrival at, 209; nick- 
names of rooms, 215; the "nobles' 



room," 215 ; system regulating the 
prisoners' daily life, 221 ; the artel, 
221 ; allowance of food, 221 ; distri- 
bution of money, 22 1 ; " May days " 
events, 233 ; work of gold-washing, 
233 ; rebuilt, 235 ; measures against 
the "politicals" in, 235, 236; 
changes of commandants, 236 ; 
modifications, 236; the "Sanhe- 
drin room," 240 ; first spring in, 
245 ; monotony of the life, 248 ; 
physical exercise, 254 ; garden, 
254 ; concessions under Colonel 
Masyukov, 256, 257; the "Com- 
mune room," 257; number of 
prisoners, 259; women "politicals," 
266-269 ; conditions of life, 270 ; 
order for the removal of prisoners 
to Akatoui, 294 ; release of others, 

Kara River, 300; gold- washing settle- 
ments, 233 ; search for, 305 

Karanlov, 120 

Karovaiev, the exiled Decabrist, 200 

Kashintsev, Ivan, his term of im- 
prisonment, 198 ; escape, 199 

"Kassiber," or written message, 25 

Katansky, Colonel, attempt on his 

life, 82 
" Katorga," or penal servitude, 196 ; 

sentences, alleviation of, 236 
Katz, exiled to Sibera, 36 

Kennan, George, his travels, 202 ; 
Siberia and the Exile System, v, 
206 n. ; his visit to Kara, 239 

Kettler, Baron von, his murder, 328 

Kharkov, 80, 92, 119, 261, 263 

Kharkov gaol, attempted rescue from, 

Kharkov, Governor of, assassinated, 


Kharkov, University of, 273 

Kharkov, Veterinary College at, 215 
Kherson, 192 

Kibaltchitch, his attempt on the life 
of Alexander II., 117; executed, 

Kiev Buntari, 9 

Kiev prison, 10, 98 ; escapes from, 
10, 99, 100 ; arrival at, 98 ; in- 
dependent spirit of the prisoners, 

Kiev University, riots in, 103 
Kilauea volcano, 356 

Knocking, communication between 

prisoners by means of, 51, 56, 65 ; 

use of alphabetical code, in 51 n. 
Kobiliansky, in the Fortress of Peter 

and Paul, 56 ; sent to Schliissel- 

burg, 57 m; death, 57 n. 

Kobozev, 268. 

Kohn, 259 ; his release from Kara 

prison, 299 n. 
Kolotkevitch, his attempt on the life of 

Alexander II., 117; sentence, 1 17 n. 

Kopeck, value of, 142 п., 159, 222 п. 

Korba, Anna, 267, 268 

Korean peninsula, 351 

Korf, Baron, Governor-General, his 
treatment of Elizabeth Kovals- 
kaya, 271 ; on the new regulations 
at Akatoui prison, 294 

Kornienko, 186 

Koros, Commandant of Kara prison, 

Kostyurin, Victor, sentence, и ; his 
release from prison, 206 ; meeting 
with Deutsch, 207 

Kotliarevsky, Deputy Public Prose- 
cutor, 53 ; his faculty for keen 
observation, 54 ; on the reason 
for Deutsch's confinement in the 
Fortress of Peter and Paul, 61-63 > 
on the "old clothes case," 64 ; on 
the murder of Mezentzev, 70 ; ap- 
pointed President of the Courts at 
Vilna, 72 

Kovalevskaya, Maria, details of her 
life, 187 ; character, 188, 190 ; 
hunger-strike, 189, 273, 284; suffer- 
ings, 190; views, 191 ; her arrival 
at Kara prison, 271 ; treatment of 
the doctor, 284 ; takes poison, 288 

Kovalevsky, 188 

Kovaliev, 122 

Kovalik, attempts to escape from 
prison, 260 

Kovalskaya, Elizabeth, her escape 
from Irkutsk prison and recapture, 
1 89 п.; attempts to escape, 197; 
in Kara prison, 269 ; her behaviour 
to the Governor-General, 271 ; re- 
moval ordered, 271 ; her removal 
at night, 272 

Kovalsky, Captain, 98 
Koziriov, 172 

Krasnoyarsk, 170; arrival at, 184; 
prison, 184; regulations, 185 

3 66 


Kratzenovsky, 235 п. 

Kravtchinsky, S., his attempt on the 
life of General Mezentzev, 92, 263 

Krayev, released, n 

Kremutsky, 99 n. 

Kridner, Nicholas, Deutsch under 

name of, 14 
Krivenko, 65 

Kropotkin, Prince, Governor of 
Kharkov, 93 

Kropotkin, Prince Peter, 263 

Kulaki, or usurers, 176 

Kurgan, 205 

Kuritzin, his release, 1 1 ; turns traitor, 

69 n. 
Kurnei) 352 
Kutitonskaya, Maria, her arrest, 192 ; 

sentence, 193 ; attempt on the life 

of Ilyashevitch, 193 ; appearance, 

193; death, 193 
Kuznetsov, 323 
Kviatkovsky, sentenced to death, 214 

11 Labour, League for the Emancipa- 
tion of," 17 П., 21, 212 

Lavrov, Peter, 82 

Lazarev, Yegor, in Moscow prison, 
129; elected chief of the com- 
missariat, 132; banished to Eastern 
Siberia, 151 ; on the conduct of the 
Chief of Police at Irkutsk, 194 ; 
interned at Tchita, 202 

League for the Emancipation of 

Labour, 1711., 21, 212 
Lebedieva, imprisoned at Kara, 266 ; 

her death, 266 

Leiblen, Herr, 13, 18 

Lesnik, Colonel, Governor of the 
Fortress of Peter and Paul, 49 

Lesnoye, 117 

Letters, reception of, in Kara prison, 
250, 251 

Levtchenko, 235 n. 

Li-Wa-Chan, 335 

Librarian, post of, in Kara prison, 227 

Lisogub, 192, 242 ; condemned to 
death, 192 n. 

Lissenko, on the reason for his mur- 
ders, 304 ; illegal trade, 305 

Listvinitchnaya, 195 

Literature, socialistic, prohibition of, 
in Russia, 1 ; printed in Switzer- 
land, 1 

Liverpool, 357 

London, 357 

Lopatin, Hermann, 82 ; his arrest, 

Luri, 259; his release from prison, 

Lurye, Semen, his escape from Kiev, 

Lustig, Ferdinand, on the conditions 

of life in Kara, 195 
Lyochky, his execution in Irkutsk 

prison, 189 n. 

Maidansky, condemned to death, 
11, 62 

Makeyeva, Madame, her entreaties 
for the life of her Chinese servant, 

Malaya Sadovaya Street, 268 

Malinka, condemned to death, II, 

Maltchevsky, Captain, ill ; his treat- 
ment of the prisoners, 113; testi- 
monial to, 139 

Malyovany, Vladimir, exiled to Si- 
beria, 105, 151 ; death, 105 п.: 
vein of humour, 109 

Manayev, 237 

Manchuria, entry of Russian army 

into, 345 
Mankovsky, 259 

Martinovsky. starosta at Kara prison, 
209, 217 ; his character, 217 ; 
sentence, 217; release, 29911. 

Marx, Karl, his doctrines, 17 п.; 
Capital y 139, 212 

Masyukov, Colonel, commandant of 
Kara prison, 255 ; appearance, 
255 ; character, 256 ; concessions, 
256 ; his treatment of Elizabeth 
Kovalskaya, 272 ; wish to be trans- 
ferred, 274; "boycotted" by the 
women, 278 ; struck by Sigida, 
280 ; his successor appointed, 298 

" May days " events, 233 

McKinley, President, his assassina- 
tion, 356 

Medvediev, Alexei, his attempted 
rescue from prison, 215, 262; 
escape from Kharkov gaol and re- 
capture, 261 ; sentence, 262 ; char- 
acter, 262 ; predisposition to al- 
coholism, 263 

Melikov, Count Loris, Minister of 



the Interior, 234 ; decree against 
the "politicals," 234; annulled, 236 

Melnikova, no 

Mendelssohn, Stanislas, his escape 
from prison, 46 

Merkulov, 80 n. 

Messenger, The European, 250 

Mezentzev, General, murdered, 70, 
92, 218, 263 

Mihailov, Adrian, a "Sirius," 229; 
arrest and sentence, 264 ; his re- 
markable memory, 264 ; release 
from Kara prison, 299 n. 

Mihailovsky, N., 212 

"Militarists," 131 

Minuisinsk, 187 ; ispravnik of, 1S7 
' Minuses," nickname of, 223 

Minyukov, 235 n. 

Mirsky, his attempt on the life of 
General Drenteln, 218 ; arrest and 
sentence, 219; appearance, 220; 
views on social conditions in Russia, 
220 ; on the new regulations at 
Akatoui prison, 295 ; release from 
Kara prison, 29911. 

Mongolia, 137 

Moor, Karl, 14, 16 

Morphia, poisoning by, 289 

Moscow, journey to, 106 ; arrival at, 
no; departure from, 140; the 
high-road from, 169 

Moscow prison, no 

Moscow railway, train blown up, II, 

Mouraviev, the Public Prosecutor, 

52 ; attempt on his life, 122 
Music, cultivation of, in Kara prison, 

Myshkin, his escape from Kara prison, 

234 ; capture, 235 
Mysolowitz, 359 
Mysovaya, 196 

Nabokov, Minister of Justice, 61 ; 
petition to, 87 ; his visit to Odessa 
prison, 94 

Nagasaki, 35l"353 
Narim, 152 

Narodnaia Vo/ya,^, 13, 196; collapse, 
131 ; power, 230 

" Narodnaia Volya, Red Cross League 
of the," 64 

Neblagonadyeshny, or untrustworthy, 

Nertchinsk prison, condition of, 204 

Netshaev case, 259 

New York, 357 

Nicholas I., vii ; revolt on his ac- 
cession, 200 n. 

Nicholas II., manifestoes on his 
marriage and coronation, 316 

Nijni-Kolymsk, 281 

Nijni-Novgorod, 142 

Nijni-Udinsk, 186 

Nikolin, Captain, Governor of Kara 
prison, 195 ; his character, 198, 
237 ; treatment of the prisoners, 

2 37 '■> appearance, 238 ; nickname, 

238 ; excess of zeal, 239 ; tyrannies, 
246 ; departure, 247 

Nikolsk-Ussurisk, 349 

Nizhnaya-Kara, 206 ; penal settle- 
ment at, 300 ; population, 300 ; 
regulations, 301 ; work, 302 ; 
monotony of the life, 310 ; employ- 
ment of convict labour, 311 

"Nobles' room" in Kara prison, in- 
mates of, 215 

Novakovsky, 186 

Novitsky, Colonel, 103 

Nyeiistroyev, his execution in Irkutsk 
prison, 18911. 

Obi, 151, 153 

Ochrana, or secret police, 43 n. 

Odessa, 9 ; journey to, 73 

Odessa prison, 74 

Olchin, A., 219 

M Old clothes case," 64 ; work of the 

society, 133 
Olshaninov, 52 
Opium, poisoning by, 289 
Orfenov, Colonel, on the means of 

defence in Blagovestshensk, 330 

Oriel, 109 

Orlov, Paul, mode of escape, 55 ; in 
Kara prison, 209 

Ossmsky, 99 n; attempt on the life 
of Kotliarevsky, 53 

Ostashkin, Vice-Governor, in com- 
mand of the province of Yakutsk, 

Ostiaks, 152 

Ozovsky, 259 

3 68 


Pankratov, 120 

Paris, 357 

Pashkovsky, 259 

Perm, 142 

Perovskaya, Sophia, 196 

Peter and Paul, Fortress of, 48, 52, 
54, 57 п., 99, ioi, 166 п., 219, 
236, 2бо, 263, 265, 269 ; rations, 
50 ; outdoor exercise, 5 1 ; knock- 
ing between prisoners, 51 ; Alexei- 
Ravelin tower, 219, 260, 262 

Petersburg, arrival in, 48 ; departure 
from, 72 

Petersburg House of Detention, 57 ; 

rules, 58 ; outdoor exercise, 60 ; 

system of communication, 66 

Pirbg, or sort of pie, 226 

Plehanov, 17 п.; Socialism and the 
Political Struggle , 213 

Plehve, chief of the Central Depart- 
ment of the State Police, 55 
" Pluses," nickname of, 223 
Pohitonov, Captain, 115 m 

Pohorukov, attack on, 296 ; super- 
intendent of Nizhnaya-Kara, settle- 
ment, 301 

Pohulov, Major, Governor of the 
ordinary convicts prison, 239 ; his 
system of robbery, 240 

Polish insurrection of 1863, vii, 48 

"Politicals," method of the Govern- 
ment in dealing with, 40 n. ; 
system of communication in prison, 
5 1 , 66 ; distinction between ordinary 
criminals, 97 п.; equality, 128, 131 ; 
demeanour of the staff towards, 
136; separation, 150 ; hardships of 
the journey to Siberia, 158; dispute 
about the hour for starting, 161- 
163 ; relations with the criminals, 
163; escapes from prison, 189 п., 
234 ; work of gold-washing, 233 ; 
privileges, 234 ; decree against, 234 ; 
annulled, 236 ; measures against, 
235 ; modifications, 236 ; petitions 
for pardon, 277 ; join in a hunger- 
strike, 277 ; expiration of the sen- 
tence, 293 n. ; release of, 298, 299 n. ; 
relations with the peasants, 312 ; 
women, 266-269 ; conditions of life 
in prison, 270 ; relations with the 
authorities, 2705 disputes, 271; 
their hunger-strikes, 273, 277, 284; 
boycott Captain Masyukov, 278 ; 
sufferings, 279 

Poltava, 107 

Pood, value of, 308 n. 

Popko, his escape from Irkutsk prison 

and recapture, 189 n. 
Popov, Michael, 57 n. 

Posen, Nicholas, his escape from 
Irkutsk prison and recapture,. 189 m ; 
in Kara prison, 244 ; his passion for 
argument, 244 ; petition for pardon, 

Post, arrival of, in Kara prison, 249; 
the "secret," 251 

Pressnyakov, sentenced to death, 214 
Prikastshikov, 340 

Prison at Akatoui, 292 ; Berlin, 45 ; 
Frankfurt-am-Main, 42 ; Freiburg, 
21; Irkutsk, 189; Kara, 209; 
Kiev, 98 ; Krasnoyarsk, 184 ; 
Moscow, 1 10 ; Nertchinsk, 204 ; 
Odessa, 74; Tomsk, 154 

Prisoners, distinction between ordi- 
nary and " political," 97 n ; " chil- 
dren of misfortune," 142 ; institu- 
tion of the an 'el \ 177-180; ordinary, 
176; sectarians, 176; "biscuits," 
177 ; relations with the escort, 203 ; 
"politicals," 40 ; "on probation," 
meaning of the term, 191, 236; 
suicide of, 288 ; release, 298, 299 п.; 
see "Politicals." 

Pristav, or commissioner of the police, 
312 ; his treatment of the peasants, 
312; of Leo Deutsch, 314; super- 
intends the taking of the census, 

Prisyetskaya, 191 

"Probation time," 236 

"Proletariat, case of the," 259 

" Propagandist movement," viii ; 
meaning of the term, 6 ; its char- 
acter, 7 ; treachery in the, 8 

Protopopov, 65 

Prybylyev, acts as medical adviser, 
226 ; his assistance to Pohorukov, 
296 ; release from Kara prison, 
299 n. 

Prybylyeva, Raissa, 206, 207 

Ptshelkina, Anna, 105, 106 

Pugatchev, 1 10 

Rashko, his attempt to rescue Alexei 
Medvediev, 261 ; arrest, 262 

Rasin, Stenka, 7° 
Rechnyevskaia, Vitolda, 102 



Rechnyevsky, Thaddeus, 102, 259 ; 

release from prison, 298 
Red Cross League of the Narbdnaia 

ѴЫуа, 64 ; work of the, 133 

" Red " terrorism, meaning of the 
term, ion. 

Rogachev, Lieutenant, 115 
Romny, 107 ; reading society at, 107 ; 
arrest of "conspirators," 108 

Rosen, Dr., 77 n. 

Rossikova, Elena, 192 ; her arrest 

and sentence, 192 ; in Kara prison, 

269 ; removed, 271 
Roth, inspector, 25, 28, 37 
Rouble, value of a, 59 п., 222 п. 
Rozovsky, case of, 39 
Rubinok, his sentence, 121 ; banished 

to Eastern Siberia, 151 ; sent to 

Yakutsk, 195 
Rumania, 36 
Russakov, 264 

Russel, Dr. N., 354 ; his meeting 
with Deutsch, 355 

Russia, "administrative methods," 
34, 36, 65, 293 ; institution of 
banishment by, viii ; army, volun- 
teer in the, 85 ; census, orders for 
a » 3*7 j Christian names, use of, 
104 ; criminal code, 87, 293 n. ; 
Easter, custom at, 134; extra- 
dition treaty, 6 ; gendarmes, char- 
acter of, 46 ; literature, social- 
istic, prohibition of, 1 ; "politicals," 
method in dealing with, 40 n. ; 
prison regulations, 126 ; Propa- 
gandist movement, viii, 6 ; its 
character, 7 ; reaction, 276, 357 ; 
Social Democracy, expansion of the 
movement, 326; views on, 212; 
terrorists, number of, 64 ; village 
communes, power of the, 176; 
Workmen's Union, 191, 198 n. 

Russinov, Councillor, 275 ; his pro- 
posals of recantation, 276 

Saghalien, island of, 91, 293, 311 
Saghalien, Chinese village of, 328 ; 

Russians take possession of, 345 
Samoyedes, 152 
San Francisco, 356 

"Sanhedrin room," in Kara prison, 

inmates of, 240 
Satrapia^ steamship, 357 
Schliisselburg fortress, 43 п., 57 п., 

9i, U7n., 118, 120, 189П., 214, 

236, 260, 265 
Scurvy, attack of, 245 
Sectarians in Siberia, 176 
Semyanovsky, commits suicide, 234 
Sen y value of, 352 
Serbinova, no 
Seya, 344 
Shabanov, the deputy-/rz'.r/az/, 335 ; 

on the massacre at Amur, 336 ; 

appropriation of Chinese property, 

Shebalin, 120 

Shebalina, Paraskovya, 102, 119; 
death, 121 

Shilka River, 325 

Shilkinskaya, Volost, 319 

Shtchedrin, 57 п.; his sentence, 189 n. 

Shtchulepnikova, Barbara, 119, 151, 


Shtshulepnikov, Senator, 128 

Shturkovsky, 57 n. 

Siberia, army, decision to mobilise 
328 ; Cesarevitch, journey of the 
through, 309 ; Government, cor 
ruption of the, 168 ; houses, ap 
pearance of the, 172 ; inhabitants 
character, 173-175 ; prisoners, pre 
parations for the journey to, 138 
hardships, 158 ; convoy-stations 
158 ; allowance of food, 159 ; halt 
ing-stations, 147, 160, 180, 203 
accommodation, 161 ; escape of 
convict-tramps, 165 ; treatment of 
the peasants, 166-168 ; flight from, 
348 ; railway, construction of, 144, 
311 ; winter, severity of the, 200, 

Sigida, Nadyeshda, her sufferings in 
Kara prison, 279 ; assault on the 
commandant, 280 ; length of her 
fast, 284 ; condemned to be flogged, 
287 ; death, 288 

Simashko, Governor of Kiev prison, 

"Sirius," meaning of the term, 229 
"Sixteen, Case of the," 214 
Smirnitskaya, Nadyeshda, 269 ; takes 
poison, 288 

Smirnov, inspection of Moscow prison, 

123 ; plan for escape, 123 
Snigiriov, 181, 186 

Social-Democratic movement in Ger- 
many, 1; in Russia, ix, 17 п.; 



expansion, 326 ; German law 
against repealed, 358 

Social Democrats, 131 ; views on, in 
Germany, 213 ; in Russia, 212 

Soudyehkin, Colonel, Commander of 
the Petersburg Ochrana, 43 n. ; 
assassinated, 43 n. ; succeeds in 
capturing terrorists, 267 ; discovery 
of a bomb laboratory, 267 

Souhomlin, 259 ; his release from 
prison, 298 

Sozialdemokrat, 1, 13 

Spandoni - Bosmandshi, Athanasius, 
112 ; terms of his indictment, 118 ; 
condemned to penal servitude, 151; 
his illness, 186 ; at Kara prison, 

Stanitsa, Aigunskaya, 321 

Stanyukovitch, 65 

Starinkyevitch, 209 ; his character, 
216; sentence, 217; release from 
Kara prison, 299 n. 

Stiirosta, or head-man, 143, 147, 178; 
advantages of the office, 178; elec- 
tion, 223 

Starshina, or chief of the commune, 

317 > I 

Statyehny sfiisok, or "list of par- 
ticulars," 97 

Steblin-Kamensky, 197 ; on the prison 
life in Kara, 198 

Stefanovitch, Jacob, his escape from 
Kiev, 10, 15, 9911. 210 п.; accused 
of attempt against the life of 
Gorinovitch, 35 ; extradition de- 
manded, 35 ; in Kara prison, 210 ; 
arrest, 210 п.; character, 210 п.; 
appearance, 210 п.; length of his 
imprisonment, 211 п.; views on the 
Social - Democratic organisation, 
215 ; release deferred, 292 ; in- 
terned in Yakutsk, 299 n. 

Stepniak, 92 п., 263 п.; Utiderground 
Russia, v, 7 n. , 10 n. , 98 n. , 193 n. ; 
on Jacob Stefanovitch, 21011. 

Stretyensk, 325 

Stromberg, Baron von, 115 

Subotniki, sect, 174 

Suhanov, 264 

Suicide of prisoners, 289 

Sundelevitch, 209 ; his views on tlje 
revolutionary movement, 213; his 
character, 214 ; reaction, 214 

Surgut, 152 

Switzerland, 1, n, 17, 19, 21, 27, 
34, 42, 46, 104, 241 
Swop," meaning of a, 155 n. 


Taganrock, 218 

Taiga, or primeval forest, 165, 306 

Tarhov, 218 

Tchekondze, 204, 205 

Tchemodanova, Liubov, 151, 157 

Tchernishevsky, imprisoned at Viluisk, 
166 ; his novel, What Should We 
Do? 166 п.; attempted rescue, 
234 n. 

Tchigirin case, 10, 15 

Tchita, 174; arrival at, 201 

Tchbmy Peredyel, or Redivision of 
the Land, 215 

Tchubarov, 192, 242 

Tchuikov, Vladimir, 112; terms of 
his indictment, 119: condemned 
to penal servitude, 151 ; at Nert- 
chinsk prison, 204 ; at Kara, 207 ; 
appointed librarian, 228 

Terrorism, viii, ix, 8, 220, 230 ; the 
"red" and the "white," meaning 
of the terms, ion. 

Terrorists, 8, 10, 15, 121, 130, 196, 
213. 230, 267, 273 ; number of, in 
Russia, 64 

Thun. Professor, Geschichte der revo- 
lutiona?-en Bewegung in Russ/and. 
7 п., ion., 98 п.; interpreter at 
Freiburg, 14 ; his lectures, 14 ; views 
on the terrorists, 15 ; lecture on 
"Two Episodes in the Russian 
Revolutionary Movement," 15 ; his 
suggestions for escape from Freiburg 
prison, 31 

Tihomirov, Leo, 82 ; a leader of the 
Narodnaia Vblya, 276 ; his apos- 
tasy, 276 ; Why I ceased to he a 
Revolutionist, 276 

Tihonov, 100 

Tihonovitch, Lieut. Alexander, 1 1 5 n. ; 

Tishtchenko, 189 n. 

Tiumen, 120, 144; separation of 
exiles at, 148 

Tiutchev, his marriage, 207 

Tobol, 151 

Tobolsk, 149, 152 

Tokio, 354 



Tolstoi, Count Dimitri, 274 ; ap- 
pointed Minister of the Interior, 130 

Tolstoi, Count Leo, his visit to Mos- 
cow prison, 129 ; gift of books to 
the prisoners, 138 

Tomi, 151 

Tominin, appointed commandant of 
Kara prison, 298 

Tomsk, 105 п., 151, 153; prison at, 

Tools, possession of, in Kara prison, 

240, 257 

Transbaikalia, 193 

Treaty, extradition, between Germany 
and Russia, 6, 53 ; Deutsch's, 40, 
62 ; Gotz's attempted, 28211. 

Тгербѵ, General, Governor of Peters- 
bury, fired at, 263 

"Trial of the 193," 261, 263 

Troikas , or three -horsed carriages, 
144 ; mode of travelling by, 146 

Tula, 109 

Tunka, 137 

Tura, 151 

Tusslukov, Captain, 343 

"Twenty, Trial of the," in 1882, 
258, 264, 269 

Ufa, Bogdanovitch, Governor of, 71 n. 

Underground Russia, 7 п., ю п., 
98 п., 193 п., 2 ю п.; see Stepniak 

Ural Mountains, 146 

Ussur, 349 

Ust-Kara, 206, 273 

Vannovsky, Minister of War, 86 

Vasiliev, Makar, 119; exiled, 151 

Verchoyansk, 281 

Verkhny-Kolymsk, 281 

Verkhny-Udinsk, prison at, 196, 271 

Vestnik Evropuy, 250 

Vilna, 72 

Viluisk, 166, 234 n. 

Vladivostock, 235, 347, 350 

Vlast6poulo, 172 ; terrorist principles, 
275 ; recantation, 276 

Volga, the, 142 

Volhonsky, Prince, 128 

Volkov, Captain, 106, 144, 343 

Volkovinsky, Captain, 338, 343 

Voloshenko, his escape from Irkutsk 
prison and recapture, 189 п.; his 
views on the Social Democrats, 212 

Vorontsov, 188 

Voynoralsky, his attempts to escape 
from prison, 260 

Vrassky, Galkin, see Galkin-Vrassky 

Warsaw, 48 

Wheelbarrow, chained to the, 189 п., 

"White" terrorism, meaning of the 
term, ion. 

Wolkenstein, Ludmilla, 1 1 5 n . 

Yablonovoi mountain ridges, 200 

Yablonski, 2, 12 

Yakhnova, Anna, 269 

Yakovlov, Captain, temporary com- 
mandant of Kara prison, 255 

Yakubovitch, Peter, 259 ; on the 
new regulations at Akatoui prison, 

Yakutsk, province of, 122, 307 

Yaliks, or boats, 152 

Yankovski, his sentence, 1 1 

Yatzevitch, Nicholas, 241 ; his escape 
from Irkutsk prison and recapture, 
18911.; imprisoned at Kara, 215, 
262 ; attempt to rescue Medve- 
diev, 215, 262; character, 216; a 
" Sirius," 229 ; champion chess- 
player, 253 

Yefremov, his arrest and sentence, 

Yemelyanov, his share in the assassina- 
tion of Alexander П., 264; sen- 
tence, 265 ; change of views, 265 ; 
his petition for pardon, 277 

Yenisei, 186 

Yokohama, 354 

Yordan, the student, his longing for 
freedom, 172 

Young Narbdnaia Vb/ya, members of 
the, 131 

Yun-Tcha-San, 338 

Yurhovsky, 235 n. 

" Yurtas," or tent - shaped hovels, 

Yuvatchov, Ensign Ivan, 115П. 



Zassoulitch, Vera, 17 п.; her attempt 
on the life of General Trepov, 

Zeit, Die Neue, extract from, 328 n. 

Zemlya г Vblya, or Land and Free- 
dom, 116; society dissolved, 196 

Zcmskaya kvartira, or official resi- 
dences, 319 

Zhelyabov, 269 

Zion, Professor, 285 

'Zlatopolsky, Leo, his attempt on the 
life of Alexander II. j sentence, 
1 17 п.; in Kara prison, 241, 258; 
release, 299 n. 

Zlatoust, strike at, 71 n. 

Zoubrtchitsky, 253 

Zuckermann, in Nertchinsk prison, 
204 ; his character, 205 ; commits 
suicide, 205 

Zurich, 1, 357